Motorcycles vs Cars:
With rugged nicknames, like chopper and hog, it’s easy to see how motorcycles are far more dangerous than their larger and heavier counterparts: cars. When it comes to vehicle safety, motorcyclists are more exposed than car passengers, they don’t have seatbelts, and many motorcycles don’t have airbags. According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are 29 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 42% of accidents are with cars turning left, not seeing an oncoming motorcyclist, and then colliding with them.
Common motorcycle injuries include:
- Road rash
Motorcycle Safety Gear Necessary:
The best thing motorcyclists can do for themselves is wear protective gear, like padded clothing, helmets, and goggles. Motorcycle helmets lower the risk of head injury by 69%, and the risk of death by almost 50%. Luckily, helmet use has increased over the years from 48% in 2005 to 71% in 2019. Glasses and goggles are another preemptive safety measure. Without goggles, riders are likely to encounter impaired vision from sunlight or wind. In 2019, 73% of riders who caused accidents weren’t wearing any eyewear.
More Road Hazards for Two-Wheeled Vehicles:
Even with protective gear, it’s integral to be aware of road hazards and road risks. Motorcycles are less stable than cars, so when it comes to motorcycle safety, watch for pavement issues, like oil spills, potholes, or debris. Take caution during weather changes, especially in the rain because motorcycles have less traction on wet surfaces. The same goes for snowy and windy conditions. Just like awareness, safety riding is something riders should always keep in mind. Ride responsibly. Nearly half of crashes are caused by speed and alcohol use. One should also always obey traffic laws, utilize defensive driving, go the speed limit, and be aware of surrounding vehicles. Since motorcycles are less visible than cars, take head when changing lanes and merging.
A Growing Demographic:
Although motorcycles are dangerous, they’re also appealing. Many motorcyclists are enthusiasts. They find thrill and a sense of freedom on two wheels. Many riders find solace in the friendships that can be created through a mutual love of riding. Motorcycles have a completely different aesthetic than cars and riding them comes complete with its own style. The NHTSA had found that in the past 10 years, fatalities for riders in their 40s and over have increased, while accidents involving drivers between the ages of 20-29 have decreased. This is simply because more people in their 40s are buying bikes. Motorcycle ownership for those in their 40s jumped from 15.1% to 43.7 percent from 1980 to 1998 alone.
Yes, motorcycles are dangerous and even the most experienced rider can get hurt, but that doesn’t mean motorcyclists should stop riding. Knowing the statistics of motorcycle fatalities and keeping motorcycle safety in mind should help provide riders a sense of ease knowing they’re taking care of themselves and others while on the road.