6 Surprising Aspects of Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle Safety

I’ve never been a fan of motorcycles. Well, that may not be entirely true. I haven’t been a fan of motorcycles since I was eight years old and wrecked my cousin’s miniature dirt bike. I still have the scar on my left knee from that wreck. Since then I’ve said no to riding on two wheels. As an adult, my balance improved, but the thought of riding a bike gives me acid reflux. I feel as if they are really impractical. I think to myself, “What if it rains and I am caught in the weather without a tasteful poncho.”  Honestly, I’d much rather own a 2017 Toyota Sienna over an all new Harley-Davidson. That was until Jurassic World premiered last year and Aspects of Motorcycle SafetyChris Pratt showed up riding on a Triumph Scrambler. I will do anything Chris Pratt tells me to do. If he asked me to rob a bank while wearing a Dallas Cowboys shirt, I would do it without thinking twice. If I could be half as cool as him that would be amazing. A quick Google search told me that a new one was a little less than $10,000. Surely I could pick one up a used for even less. For about two weeks I seriously considered buying this motorcycle. I eventually talked myself out of the purchase. By then the New Mission Impossible film was released and I turned my attention to whatever Jeremy Renner was trying to sell me. Before abandoning my two-wheeled chariot dreams, I made note of the all of the information out there about motorcycle safety. Keep in mind, I was not personally vested in personal injury at this time, so for me to notice this type of rhetoric, it means that there is an abundance of it in our culture. Motorcycle safety is everywhere. The first things I noticed, and still to this day question, were cars displaying bumper stickers pleading with other motorists to be careful around motorcycles. My cynical inner demon wanted to poke fun at these drivers. “Why do you care, you drive a car.” The bumper sticker was one facet of this safety obsession. Soon I noticed billboards, television commercials, social media campaigns, Snapchat filters, and even live demonstrations warning me about the safety of motorcycle riders. This movement was as ambitious as Pokémon Go; however, people weren’t getting bored with it after a few days. Are motorcycles really that dangerous? Was everyone’s mother right to warn us not to ride them?  Now that I do research for Personal Injury claims, I had to see what I could find out. What makes a motorcycle so dangerous? What I found out was beyond surprising. Take this journey through motorcycle safety with me. Here are the 6 surprising aspects of motorcycle safety.

  1. Motorcycle deaths are on the rise. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, motorcycle deaths aren’t just increasing; they recently reached an all-time high. The IIHS reports that 2011 was the worst year on record for motorcycle fatalities. While the most recent year reported, 2014, has decreased slightly, the numbers as a whole are much worse than they were 20 years ago. In 1992 there were 2,215 motorcycle fatalities. In 2014 there were 4,295 fatalities. What’s more, passenger vehicle fatalities are decreasing.
  2. Fatalities as a result of multi-vehicle wrecks with motorcycles are pretty steady. This percentage fluctuates very little. In fact, since 1986, this number has never moved more than 4% total. It’s always between 54% and 58%.
  3. Engine size matters. When I researched the stats on motorcycles this figure stood out to me. The motorcycles involved in the most fatal accidents have the least powerful engines. At first, that number seemed a little odd. To me, it would make more sense for the more powerful engines to have more accidents. After all, these motorcycles tend to be sportbikes, and they are often lighter too. But then it hit me; more powerful bikes are also more expensive, and thus there are less of them on the road. There are simply a lot more low powered bikes on the road, and that is why they are involved more often. The same goes for the car world too. You will see a lot more Toyota Camrys involved in wrecks than you will Corvettes. In 2015, new Camrys were sold to 429,355 people. Meanwhile, Chevrolet sold just over 34,000 Corvettes last year. With almost 400,000 more Camrys sold in one year than Corvettes, it makes sense that they are involved in more accidents. One note before I move on, the motorcycles with the larger engines have steadily been involved in more accidents.
  4. People still ride motorcycles without helmets. I feel like I am a pretty open-minded person. Though I believe my way is always the right way, I accept that other people may not feel the same way I do. That’s cool. And I am usually pretty accepting. Here in West Virginia, we have a helmet law. If you or a passenger ride on a motorcycle, you have to wear a helmet. However, I live near the border of this place called Ohio. In Ohio, there is no state law requiring riders to wear helmets, and thus, most of the people who live there don’t wear them. I am refraining from putting my personal opinion in this part of the blog. I get that helmet use is a choice for each person to make on their own. That being said, 1,400 people died in 2014 on motorcycles in which a helmet wasn’t worn. The Center Disease Control, which apparently keeps tabs on motorcycle riders, says that helmets can reduce your risk of death by 37%.
  5. When you ride really impacts your safety. The IIHS states that June was the most dangerous month for riding, and the most fatalities occurred between 5-6 PM. Both the month and the time are when the most cars are on the road too. So there is a correlation between the amount of traffic on the road and the number of accidents. When I see numbers like this, all of those campaigns make sense.
  6. Alcohol is still an issue for some reason. This one I really can’t understand. There so much proof out there that alcohol inhibits anyone’s ability to operate a vehicle, but yet people still do it. When I was 12, a police officer came to my school and said that drinking and driving was bad and that we shouldn’t do it. Then in high school in driver’s education class, I was shown a lot of pictures of what can happen when you drink and drive. Guess what, I don’t do it. Alcohol is still a major factor in motorcycle accidents.

Since starting my research for this blog topic, I have found myself paying more attention to motorcycles on the road. My opinion of the riders has changed. Not Aspects of Motorcycle Safetyeveryone on a Harley is like a character from Sons of Anarchy and not every young man on a sport bike is like the bad guys from every movie ever made. They’re just people participating in a hobby that they enjoy. It’s no different than when I scrapbook or say mean things about celebrities on Twitter. I still don’t think I’ll ever buy a motorcycle for myself. I mean, I like to eat and drive way too much! But, I’ve learned so much about motorcycle safety in the past few months. I am more careful around them now. I simply put myself in the rider’s shoes. If I were riding a motorcycle, I would want other motorists to be more careful around me too. Granted, there are a lot of things motorcyclists can do to keep themselves safe, but car drivers have to play a part too.

If you are a motorcycle rider, and you’ve been injured in an accident, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk to us now, no worries just fill out this form, and we will get in touch with you at a specific time.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law