How Dangerous are Motorcycles?

May 14, 2022

Motorcycle accidents are incredibly common, yet few people actually know just how dangerous they are. The fact is, motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than car occupants, and they should be treated as such. Drivers must exercise extra caution when passing stopped vehicles, and motorcycles should only be tested on licensed race tracks. A head-on collision with a stationary object at 25 mph can kill the motorcyclist. Motorcycles have less visibility than cars, and they have far more to lose in an accident. Left-hand turns at intersections are particularly dangerous for motorcycles - they account for 42% of all fatal motorcycle crashes involving cars. Similarly, motorcycles often crash with cars while they are going straight or overtaking another vehicle.

Despite being only three percent of vehicles on the road, motorcycles account for 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Unlike cars, motorcycles lack all the safety features that make them safer, including seat belts and protective frames. The most important safety device a motorcycle driver can use is a helmet. These helmets increase the likelihood of fatal head injuries by 40%. Helmets can include face shields to protect the rider's face.

The death rate of motorcyclists is not an accurate indicator of overall safety. The rate can differ from state to state, and the statistics are subject to change. While motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash compared to car occupants, the statistics suggest that the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash is higher among black riders than whites. This may have to do with the fact that black motorcyclists choose less protective helmets and bikes.

Motorcyclists should understand their limits and limit their speed. Even those on high-performance motorbikes should slow down in populated areas. Riders should also learn to perform defensive maneuvers. Alcohol can reduce a rider's reaction time.

Motorcycles also lack the protection provided by cars, so they should not be ridden under the influence of alcohol. If a motorcycle rider does crash, the chances of serious injury or death are much greater than with a car.

In a motorcycle crash, the rider is often launched out of the vehicle. This combined with the crash force is enough to cause significant injuries. Even motorcycle airbags cannot protect the rider from serious injury. The CDC reports that the legs and feet of motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable to accidents. So, even though they may be helpful in saving the lives of their drivers and passengers, these airbags can't save them in a crash.

Speeding is another major factor when it comes to motorbike accidents. Speeding can result in fatal accidents, as motorcyclists aren't able to see approaching cars. Almost half of fatal motorcycle-car crashes are the result of speeding drivers. Even worse, drivers who make left-hand turns rarely see motorcyclists, so they have no idea they are there. When riding on a highway, you must stay aware of your surroundings, especially the turn.