Motorcycle Safety Tips & Statistics
Motorcycle riding has become more popular in recent years, appealing to a new group of enthusiasts consisting of older and more affluent riders. A 2019 report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) stated that the number of on-road motorcycles registered in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, doubling from 4.2 million in 2002 to 8.3 million by 2018.
But for those not taking the appropriate safety precautions, motorcycle riding can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
TAKE A SAFETY COURSE
Taking a motorcycle safety course helps riders understand street safety and potentially avoid collisions for those riders. Safety Center in Sacramento offers a motorcycle training course (MTC) and Intermediate Riding Clinic to instruct riders on street safety at a reasonable cost.
WEAR APPROPRIATE SAFETY GEAR
Wearing the right apparel can be the difference between life and death. Ride Apart provides many safety gear options, such as helmets, gloves, pants and even boots to protect every inch of your body. California law requires all riders and passengers to wear a helmet when riding.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
The most common motorcycle accident occurs when a car turns left in front of the rider. This is typically because the car fails to see the rider or judges his or her speed incorrectly, thereby turning in front of the motorcycle rider at an intersection. The motorcycle rider can look out for signs, such as a car at an intersection waiting to turn or a gap in traffic near an intersection, driveway or parking lot. In these cases, it’s up to the motorcycle drive to slow down, prepare to brake and be prepared for evasive action.
UNDERSTAND YOUR MOTORCYCLE’S BRAKING SYSTEM
Stopping a motorcycle is more complicated than stopping a car. Motorcycles have separate brakes for the front and rear wheels, and braking hard can lock the wheels and cause the bike to overturn, which obviously can lead to extensive injury. Not braking hard enough can put the rider into harm’s way, such as in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
With an anti-lock braking system, a rider can brake fully without fear of locking up. The system automatically reduces brake pressure when a lockup is about to occur and increases it again after traction is restored. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that motorcycles with antilock brakes are 37 percent less likely to be in fatal crashes.
Be Aware of Manufacturer’s Defects
It’s not all that uncommon for a motorcycle company to issue a recall due to a defective part, which can compromise the safety of the ride. Keep an eye out for product recalls — sometimes the dealer will offer a free inspection, and a quick fix might be all that’s required to prevent a motorcycle accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a tool you can use to search recall information by VIN.
Be Smart About Motor Scooter Safety
Large scooters that are highway-capable have become more popular, and expose the rider to just as much risk as riding a motorcycle. As with every type of vehicle, there are a number of motor scooter safety measures you can take to prevent injuries and accidents on your scooter.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to an NHTSA fact sheet, in 2016:
- There were 5,286 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes—an increase of 5.1 percent from the 5,029 motorcyclists killed in 2015.
- Two-wheeled motorcycles accounted for 93 percent of all motorcycles in fatal crashes.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all occupant (driver and passenger) fatalities.
- Of the 5,286 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, 94 percent (4,950) were riders and 6 percent (336) were passengers.
The IIHS reported the following motorcycle fatality data for the year 2017:
- In 2017, 31 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were operating without a valid driver’s license.
- Thirty-eight percent of motorcyclist deaths in 2017 occurred in single-vehicle crashes, and 62 percent occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes.
- Ninety-one percent of motorcyclists killed in 2017 were males.
- 61 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were helmeted. Helmet use was lower, at 39 percent, for people killed as passengers on motorcycles.
- Among motorcycle drivers killed in 2017, 33 percent drove motorcycles with engine sizes larger than 1,400 cc, compared with 9 percent in 2000 and less than 1 percent in 1990.
Understand the Risks Involved
Because motorcycle riding is a hobby that only seems to grow among motorcycle enthusiasts, it is important to understand the risks involved. Taking a motorcycle safety course, wearing the proper attire, being aware of your surroundings and understanding the mechanisms of your motorcycle are just a few ways to reduce or prevent injury while riding. If you have been in a motorcycle collision or you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a vehicle driver, you should contact a qualified motorcycle accident attorney.