Persons who choose to commute by motorcycle rather than by car, truck, or other vehicle face a far greater risk of a catastrophic motorcycle injury or death. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that for every mile traveled, the risk of a fatal motorcycle injury is 26 times higher than in a regular passenger vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Motorcycles are a very dangerous transportation option due to their size, speed capabilities, and the lack of protection. The risk of motorcycle injury remains extremely high, even when basic safety measures are taken by motorcyclists.
The IIHS reports that in 2013, 4,381 motorcyclists across the nation were killed in motorcycle accidents and motorcycle fatalities accounted for 13% of all crash-related deaths in the same year. The report also concluded the following additional motorcycle accident numbers from that source:
- An estimated 26% of those motorcyclists who sustained fatal injuries in 2013 were operating with a valid driver’s license.
- 42% of motorcyclist deaths were caused in single-vehicle accidents.
- 59% of motorcycle drivers who were fatally injured in an accident were wearing a a helmet at the time, while only 49% of the motorcycle passengers were helmeted at the time of their death.
- Those most at risk of being killed in motorcycle accidents, based on fatality statistics, are male motorcyclists, as well as those under the age of 29 and over the age of 50.
- 31% of the motorcycle drivers who sustained fatal injuries were driving a motorcycle with an engine size of 1,400 cc or above.
- The most dangerous times of day for motorcyclists is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. during the week, followed by between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the weekend (which includes Friday night)
Fortunately, by being properly prepared, avoiding known hazards and exercising caution motorcyclists can reduce the the risk of bodily harm. The following is a more in-depth look at safety tips riders should follow to stay safe.
Wear a Certified, Properly-Fitted Helmet and Protective Gear
A helmet is not 100% effective in preventing significant head injury or death in a motorcycle accident but they still remain the top protective item that motorcyclists utilize. According the an IIHS report, motorcyclist can reduce the risk of extreme brain injury by 67% simply by wearing a helmet. The effectiveness of motorcyclists wearing helmets is right around 37%.
No two helmets are the same as there are different levels of protection. Consumer Reports suggests riders wear a properly-fitted, full-face helmet which has been certified by the Department of Transportation. Another important use of helmets is their ability to help reduce rider distractions. If the helmet has been damaged or is more than 5 years old, it should be replaced.
Another items motorcyclists should always incorporate is protective gear. The following are all recommend safety items that motorcyclists should wear: Gloves, sunglasses or other eye protection, a long-sleeved sturdy jacket, jeans, leathers or other full-length pants, as well as enclosed-toe boots or over-the-ankle shoes.
Do Not Buy a Motorcycle With Too Much Power
Although purchasing a bigger motorcycle that has incredible speed performance efficiency might be enticing, purchasing one that has increased power can also be dangerous. Motorcycles are built differently now than they were in years past. Smaller models can give you the performance you are looking for and are generally a lot less dangerous.
The first step in buying a motorcycle is determining how you intend to use it. Will you be using the bike to commute to and from work, to get around town, or do you plan on taking the bike on long road trips? You also need to make sure your feet can both rest flat on the ground while you are seated on the bike, and you are able to get on and off the bike without difficulty. Handlebars and controls should be easily accessible.
Take a Motorcycle Safety Class to Hone Your Skills
Whether you are new to riding a motorcycle or you are a seasoned professional, taking a motorcycle safety class can increase your riding skills. In most classes, you learn basic traffic safety laws, test your riding abilities on a track or in a controlled environment, and are trained on how to react to emergency situations.
Some instructors will also take the time to provide maintenance tips that could help you minimize the risk of a breakdown or malfunction. The majority of riders find that motorcycle safety classes leave them feeling more confident in their ability to ride safely and avert a potential motorcycle injury.
Conduct Routine Inspections and Perform Maintenance Regularly to Avoid a Motorcycle Injury
Conducting a routine inspection of the motorcycle is one of the steps a motorcyclist should take prior to going for a ride. You want to make sure the tires are inflated properly and do not show signs of dangerous wear and tear. Brakes, lights, controls, cables and chains are also items that should be inspected. Fluid levels, such as oil and gas, should be topped off. There is also an easy three-minute check list developed by the American Motorcyclist Associate that motorcyclists can utilize prior to a ride. Performing regular maintenance is also extremely In order to prevent potentially catastrophic consequences, it is very to perform regular maintenance.
Do What You Can to Avoid Rider Distractions
Motorcyclists should also take care and ascertain that there are not distraction that can cause them to take his or her eyes off the road, hands off the handlebars or attention off the task of riding. At all times, motorcyclists must remain extremely alert and aware of their surroundings Cell phones should also be eliminated from use, headphones should be avoided, and passengers should be educated so that they are aware of the importance of not distracting the motorcycle operator.
Due to the smaller profile motorcycles are much harder to see than larger vehicles. For their own safety, motorcyclists must be very alert and avoid cars and trucks, rather than trusting that the drivers of those vehicles see them. If a motorcyclist’s reaction time is reduced by even a few seconds, it could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and becoming a statistic.
Do Not Ride When Weather or Road Conditions Are Poor
Another step motorcyclists can take to reduce the risk of sustaining a motorcycle injury is to avoid going out for a ride when weather or road conditions are bad. Rain, ice, or snow on roads, streets and highways will significantly reduce a rider’s ability to control the bike or allow emergency maneuvers to avoid an accident or injury.
Stay away from potholes, uneven pavement, wet leaves, sand and other road hazards, as these can pose a risk to motorcyclists. Slowing down will help lower the chances of losing control, but it will not eliminate the danger these conditions present. The only way to fully eliminate the risk riders are likely to encounter when weather or road conditions are poor is to choose another form of transportation.
If you have been injured by another motorist while operating a motorcycle, you should call a dedicated Indiana motorcycle injury attorney who will help you to recover compensation you deserve. Drivers who cause tragic motorcycle accidents need to be held accountable for the damage, the injuries, and the pain and suffering that they cause. Contact the law offices of Rowe & Hamilton today for a free consultation.