Motorcycle Crash Risk Factors
There are several factors that commonly contribute to accidents and fatalities involving motorcycles. Some of them are preventable, others are not. The hard truth is that riding a motorcycle exposes you to potential harm. If you get hit by a car, you may not make it out alive.
- Weather. Bad weather is bad news for motorcyclists. Rain, sleet, and ice, present dangerous driving conditions. Weather isn’t necessarily a predominant cause of motorcycle crashes, but it’s definitely a compounding factor.
- Age. Older motorcyclists actually have a greater risk of being involved in a fatal accident. In 2011, 56% of riders who were killed in accidents on the road were over the age of 40.
- Traffic. As we’ve mentioned, most fatal motorcycle crashes result from a collision with another vehicle, usually a car or truck. Visibility is a big issue here. Many drivers don’t register the presence of a motorcycle until it’s too late. They’re smaller and more difficult to see than cars, and in rush hour traffic, motorcyclists run a very high risk of a collision. Weaving in and out of stop-and-go traffic can also increase this risk.
- Speeding. Speeding on a motorcycle greatly increases your risk of injury or death. In 2012, 34% of motorcycle fatalities involved speeding.
- Alcohol. Drinking and driving never mix. 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents had a BAC over the legal limit.
- Inexperience and lack of licensing. Inexperienced motorcyclists are also at an elevated risk of collisions. Some of them aren’t even licensed properly. In 2012, about 25% of injured motorcyclists didn’t have a license.
- Not having anti lock brakes. Braking a bike is a lot different from braking a car. Making sure your motorcycle is equipped with antilock brakes can reduce your risk of a fatal crash substantially.
- Not wearing a helmet. Motorcycle helmets can greatly reduce your risk of brain injury if you’re thrown off of your bike. In some states, notably California, the law requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet. However, 28 states have only partial laws regulating helmet use. Wearing a helmet could save your life.
Stay Safe & Ride Responsibly
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers of any other vehicle. If you own a motorcycle, it’s incredibly important to stay visible to car drivers, to wear a helmet, and to never ride if you’re under the influence of alcohol.