The thought of the wide-open road being traveled by motorcycle holds high appeal to many of us.
But how many of us examine the real dangers and challenges that motorcyclists face when they are riding the unknown road territory?
Wherever you are in the world, motorcycle accidents are more likely to end in severe injury or death than any other accidents on the road.
Yet, surprisingly, this doesn’t put riders off their bikes.
It’s a widely held belief that because of this, motorcyclists must be terrible riders and that these accidents must be their fault– however, this is often far from the truth.
Motorcyclists are indeed 40 times more likely to be killed on the road than any other vehicle user.
But this doesn’t necessarily make the accident their fault.
Over the last 15 years, there has been an increased number of motorcycle rider fatalities, which contrasts with the number of passenger car and light truck deaths as a result of road accidents.
In the USA alone, it is thought an estimated 88,000 people on motorbikes, were injured.
It is generally accepted that the chances of a motorcyclist dying from a road crash are 35 times greater than someone in a passenger car.
And that motorcycles are involved in 11% of all road accidents.
This has prompted several investigations, particularly with Oklahoma State University, into why there has been this increase…
There are thought to be lots of reasons why motorcycle accidents occur, but the ones considered to be the most common are:
- Motorcyclists are cutting through two different lanes – known as lane splitting.
- They are not signaling or sudden stopping.
- Poor weather and dangerous road conditions – anything that can cause the motorcyclist to increase the rider’s chances of control of their vehicle. Collisions often occur due to slippery highways due to unexpected rainfall.
- They are disregarding road/traffic signs – including left turns, which can result in errors of distance and misjudgments. Lane changes without seeing other motorists are a significant reason for causing accidents.
- Speeding – the faster the speed, the more significant the impact and more severe the consequences.
- New motorists with little experience – very likely to make risky moves on the road. However, surprisingly, older riders are more likely to have motorcycle-related accidents – those over 40 years old, make for 56% of fatalities in the last year.
- Glare or obstructed views make it difficult to see motorcyclists.
- Driving while under the influence – drink, and drugs, before or while driving.
- Vehicle malfunction – a poorly manufactured motorcycle part whereby the manufacturer can be held liable.
- Deliberate hostile behavior which can involve motorists challenging motorcyclists or driving with a conscious indifference to their presence on the road.
Motorcyclists are inevitably more vulnerable on the road than other motorists as they don’t have any form of surrounding protective structure on their machines, unlike cars or trucks, and there are no seatbelts to keep them securely in place.
As they are usually less visible than other motor vehicles, they are extremely likely to become an easy target for untoward users of the road.
This means they are more susceptible to fatal accidents or serious injuries.
So, with the excitement of the open road comes real risk…