Every year, millions of motorcycle drivers ride every day without being involved in an accident. While you can ride your whole life and never be in a motorcycle crash, the reality is that operating a motorcycle is much more dangerous when compared to driving a car. Despite some claims by motorcycle enthusiasts that a skilled and properly trained motorcycle operator is less likely to be injured than the average car driver, driving or riding on a motorcycle is an inherently dangerous activity.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, reports that out of every 100,000 cars on the road, 13.1 are involved in fatal crashes each year. The NHTSA also reports that out of every 100,000 motorcycles on the road, 72.34 of them are involved in fatal crashes every year. That means that you are more than 5 times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash when driving a motorcycle than when driving a car.
For every 100 million miles travelled, cars involved in 1.7 crashes, while motorcycles are involved in 35. If you are involved in a car accident you have a 20 percent chance of being injured or killed. If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident you have an 80 percent chance of being injured or killed. Motorcycle operators are not only more likely to be involved in an accident, but those accidents also have distinct characteristics that make them more dangerous. They are also more likely to affect specific types of drivers.
In crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle, such as a car or pick-up truck, motorcycle drivers are 26 times more likely to suffer an injury or die as a result of the collision. Motorcycle operators between the ages of 20 and 24 have the highest rate of deaths and injuries out of all age groups. In over 50 percent of motorcycle accident injury cases, operators suffered injuries to either their legs or feet, or their head or neck. Male operators account for 90 percent of motorcycle crash deaths, and 99 percent of males who die as a result of a crash are the motorcycle driver. Females who die in motorcycle crashes are passengers in 65 percent of the cases.
The best motorcycle operators are those who take pride in their driving skills. They know how to handle their motorcycles, wear the proper safety equipment, and are conscientious whenever they get on the road. But even the most skilled operator isn’t perfect no driver can control what happens to the road the weather and what other drivers are doing. Here are some other things to consider:
- Motorcycle has no seatbelts or restraints.
- Motorcycles weigh considerably less than other vehicles.
- Motorcycles are more vulnerable to road obstructions and impediments, such as, debris, damaged roadways, and puddles.
- Motorcycles are small. Other drivers can easily not see motorcycles, especially when the motorcycle is in the driver’s blind spot.
- Motorcycles are less stable. They require a rider to maintain balance at all times, while cars require no such driver skill.
Whether you’re an experienced operator or are considering your first motorcycle purchase, motorcycle drivers need to be aware of the risks they take when they get on the road. Good operators never takes unnecessary risks, are always aware of what is going on around them, and wear all appropriate safety gear whenever they go riding. Enjoy your ride, and always be safe.