Whereas automobiles are manufactured with air bags, seat belts, electronic balance systems, GPS, On Star, and dozens of other features catered to the safety of the driver and passengers, motorcycles don’t have these luxuries. Enthusiasts will argue that the one true luxury of a motorcycle is freedom. However, that freedom comes with the increased chances for accident and injuries.

Motorcycles lack the security and benefit of barriers and frames, thus leaving the driver exposed to the elements of the environment. Size also plays a considerable factor in the safety of motorcycles, as their smaller stature leaves them less visible to motor vehicle drivers. Motorcycles obviously adhere to an entirely different set of laws than automobiles when it comes to licenses and insurance. It is essential that motorcycle owners and drivers be fully aware of and educated on their states’ laws and their legal rights in the case of a traffic collision.

The majority of traffic collisions involving motorcycles are caused by the driver of the other vehicle. Two-thirds of motorcycle accidents aren’t caused by the driver of the motorcycle, yet that driver is almost 30 times more likely to die because of injuries suffered in that accident than the driver of the other automobile. Motorcycle drivers are also five times more likely to be injured in a traffic collision than the driver of a standard motor vehicle.

Motorcycles face a variety of obstacles that standard automobiles don’t. As mentioned, they are harder to be seen by the average driver, because the trained eye is focused on identifying other automobiles in rear and side view mirrors. Motorcycles are also easily blocked from sight by other vehicles. More than 70 percent of traffic collisions involving motorcycles happen at intersections for this very reason.

Additionally, everyday road hazards, natural and manmade, can make the driving experience difficult for any motorcycle driver. Potholes, trash, construction debris, oil and other fluids, and anything else that is not natural to a road or highway can cause the tires of the motorcycle to react poorly and lose grip on the road, leading to a skid or slide.

Other risks include high speeds, wobbling, and poor riding skills. There are so many factors that can lead to injuries and accidents on motorcycles, which is why it’s essential for all drivers to have a strong comprehension of the skill necessary to pilot a motorcycle, as well as the laws of the road and the policies of insurance carriers.
 

Statistics

In 2008, fatalities involving motorcycle drivers reached 5,290, 14 percent of total traffic collision fatalities. That was the 11th consecutive year that the number of motorcycle crash deaths increased. However, the number of riders injured in motorcycle crashes has declined 6.8 percent from 2007.

In the U.S. in 2007, motorcycle traffic collision fatalities accounted for almost one in eight motor vehicle deaths. There were 5,154 motorcycle fatalities reported in the U.S. that year.  That is an increase of more than 120 percent from 1997, which saw an all-time low in fatalities reported. Nearly 50 percent of motorcycle fatalities occurred with drivers over the age of 40. Drivers under the age of 30 made up 30 percent of fatalities in 2007.

In 2007, 36 percent of motorcycle fatalities involved speeding-related accidents. Twenty-seven percent involved blood alcohol concentrations over the legal limits in their respective states. Another 26 percent of fatalities involved bikers without the proper or valid motorcycle licenses.

The fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2006 was more than 5 times higher than the fatality rate for standard motor vehicle drivers and passengers. Additionally, more motorcycle riders were injured in 2006 than motor vehicle occupants. Motorcyclists accounted for 11 percent of total traffic collision fatalities. Speeding was the cause for more than 37 percent of motorcycle accidents in 2006, compared to 23 percent for motor vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 40 percent of motorcycle fatalities could be avoided with the use of proper helmets. Between 2001 and 2006, helmet used declined 21 percent.

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