Why Are Motorcycles So Much More Dangerous Than Cars?
The risk of dying in a crash is much higher for motorcycle riders than for occupants of passenger vehicles. Although motorcycles comprised just 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S., motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in a recent year, as reported by the National Safety Council (NSC). Several aspects have the potential to make motorcycle riding particularly unsafe.
Lack of Structural Protection
There are fundamental differences between passenger vehicles and motorcycles regarding design and structural protection. Motorcyclists lack the protective shell of an enclosed vehicle. They also lack the safety features that cars provide, such as seatbelts and airbags. Lacking such protection and safety features leaves riders more exposed to injury and increases the risk of fatal accidents.
Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans. When drivers switch lanes without first signaling and carefully checking their blind spots, they can hit motorcyclists in adjacent lanes. Some drivers only look for larger vehicles and fail to register motorcycles in the roadway until it’s too late. Additionally, many motorcycle accidents occur when drivers misjudge the speed and distance of an oncoming motorcycle due to its small size.
Four-wheeled passenger vehicles are much more stable than motorcycles. Although motorcycles provide more agility, allowing riders to maneuver through traffic, their reduced stability can lead to several potential hazards. Inclement weather and adverse road conditions, such as gravel, potholes, and uneven road surfaces, can compromise a motorcycle’s stability. Riders may be unable to stop suddenly to avoid obstacles on the road without crashing.
Exposure to the Elements
Motorcyclists have only protective clothing and helmets to shield them from the elements. Weather-related factors such as rain, wind, and extreme temperatures can increase the risk of injury. Lack of protection from the elements can also contribute to rider fatigue and reduced focus on the road.
Inadequate Safety Gear and Rider Education
The importance of proper safety gear for motorcyclists cannot be overstated. This includes a proper helmet, protective clothing, and boots. Riders not wearing adequate protective gear are vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash, including traumatic brain injury and severe road rash.
Rider education is another important factor in preventing motorcycle accidents and injuries. Motorcyclists need ongoing education and training to enhance their skills and promote safe riding practices.
What Are the Statistics on the Risks of Riding a Motorcycle?
Current data indicates that riding a motorcycle is riskier than driving a car, as supported by the following statistics:
- 6,084 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in a recent year, as stated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), representing a 21% increase from the prior year.
- Motorcycle deaths have tripled since 1997.
- 62% of motorcycle rider deaths occurred in crashes involving other vehicles.
- More than half of fatal motorcycle crashes in a recent year occurred on major, non-interstate roads.
Reach Out to an Attorney If You’ve Been Injured
Our Gillette legal team is dedicated to helping motorcycle riders who have been harmed by the carelessness of others on the road. We have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate your accident, determine liability, and hold responsible parties accountable. We can negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf and take your case to court if necessary.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash caused by the negligence of another motorist, a Gillette motorcycle accident lawyer at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. is here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us at (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free case strategy session.
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