Motorcycle Safety: Are Motorcycles Dangerous?

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Motorcycles, often referred to as “choppers” or “hogs,” inherently carry more risks compared to other vehicles, primarily due to their exposed nature and lack of standard safety features like seatbelts and airbags. According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are 16 times more likely to suffer fatal motorcycle injuries than car passengers. In fact, there were 4,985 fatal motorcycle crashes in 2018 alone. What’s more frightening is that around 50% of these accidents involve collisions with cars, highlighting the critical issue of visibility and awareness on the road. Let our knowledgeable Michigan personal injury attorney guide you on how to mitigate motorcycle risks, ensuring your safety on the road.

Common Motorcycle Injuries 

Riding a motorcycle comes with specific risks, resulting in injuries that can range from mild to severe. Common motorcycle injuries include:

  • Road Rash. Road rash occurs when skin skids across the pavement, leading to abrasions. 
  • Burns. Motorcyclists can suffer burns from the motorcycle’s hot engine and exhaust pipes.
  • Fractures. The impact of a fall or collision often results in broken bones, with the risk heightened due to the lack of external protection.
  • Disfigurement. Severe accidents can lead to long-term or permanent disfigurement.

Infographic image of common motorcycle injuries

These injuries highlight the importance of understanding the unique dangers of motorcycle riding and taking proactive steps to ensure safety on the road.

Importance of Protective Gear in Motorcycle Safety

Wearing appropriate protective gear not only enhances motorcycle safety but also significantly reduces the risk of severe injuries. Helmets, in particular, are proven lifesavers, decreasing the likelihood of head injuries by 69% and reducing the risk of death by nearly 50%. The encouraging trend of increasing helmet usage, rising from 48% in 2005 to 71% in 2019, emphasizes its value in rider safety. 

Glasses or goggles are another safety gear that ensures clear vision, essential for maintaining focus and control while riding. Riding without protective eyewear can result in vision impairment caused by elements like sunlight and wind. In 2019, 73% of riders involved in accidents were not wearing any eyewear, underlining the necessity of this safety measure.

Safe Riding Practices 

Motorcycle safety doesn’t stop at wearing protective gear; it extends to how you navigate the road. Here are some safe riding practices to keep in mind:

Watch for Road Hazards 

Pay close attention to the condition of the road surface. Look out for oil spills, potholes, and debris, which can be particularly hazardous for bikers. In rainy weather, exercise extra caution because motorcycles have reduced traction on wet surfaces. The same applies to snowy and windy conditions. Stay alert and adapt your riding style accordingly.

Ride Responsibly

Speed and alcohol use are major contributors to accidents, with nearly half of all crashes attributed to these factors. Always adhere to the speed limit, avoid alcohol consumption when riding, and ride at a safe and comfortable pace for the given conditions.

Obey Traffic Laws 

Obey stop signs, traffic signals, and lane markings. Use turn signals to indicate your intentions and respect the right of way. Defensive driving, which involves anticipating the actions of other road users, is a valuable skill to have when riding a motorcycle.

Be Aware of Surrounding Vehicles 

Motorcycles are less visible than cars, making it essential to be extra cautious when changing lanes and merging. Check your blind spots, use your mirrors, and signal your intentions clearly. Staying vigilant and aware of the movements of other vehicles can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Demographics of Motorcycle Riders 

Despite the inherent risks, motorcycles hold a unique appeal for many riders. A significant number of motorcyclists are passionate enthusiasts who are drawn to the thrill and sense of freedom that comes with riding on two wheels. Riders often form deep connections and friendships with others who share their mutual love for motorcycles. Beyond functionality, motorcycles offer a distinct aesthetic and style that sets them apart from cars, contributing to their enduring popularity.

Recent data from the NHTSA indicates an interesting shift in motorcycle ownership and accidents. Over the past decade, fatalities among riders in their 40s and older have increased, while accidents involving drivers between the ages of 20-29 have decreased. Such a trend can be attributed to the growing number of individuals in their 40s embracing motorcycle ownership. In fact, the percentage of motorcycle owners in their 40s surged from 15.1% to 43.7% between 1980 and 1998

Shafer Swartz PLC Is Your Trusted Partner

While motorcycles come with their share of risks, it’s important to remember that responsible riding and awareness can mitigate those dangers. Even the most experienced riders can face accidents, but that shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your passion for motorcycles. Instead, you should embrace safety as an integral part of the experience.

However, in the unfortunate event of a motorcycle accident where legal guidance and support become essential, Shafer Swartz PLC is here to help. Our experienced Michigan personal injury attorneys ensure your rights are protected, and justice is served. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (231) 722-2444 or here. Stay safe, ride responsibly, and enjoy the journey on two wheels!

DISCLAIMER: This blog is provided for general informational purposes only, and is not to be construed as legal advice. Every situation is different, and if you have been injured, please call (231) 722-2444 for personalized legal advice.