Depending on what criteria you use to answer this question, yes, motorcycles can be dangerous. Motor vehicles can be dangerous as well. Motorcycle accidents do not happen more frequently than passenger car accidents, but motorcycle accidents tend to be more deadly. One positive note is that, in the most recent statistics, the NHTSA found that there was a 3.1 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities in 2017. This was 14 percent of total traffic fatalities that year, and 5,172 total deaths.
When it comes to riding motorcycles, skill and attention go a long way in mitigating the risk of a crash. Below, we explore some of the tips and techniques skilled motorcyclists utilize to protect themselves.
The Added Danger of Motorcycle Riding
Motorcycle riders are overrepresented in fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When looking at vehicle miles traveled, the NHTSA says motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger car occupants.
The added dangers of motorcycles include:
- No protection because the motorcycle is essentially two wheels, a seat and an engine
- The motorcycle is more vulnerable to catastrophic damage in the event of a crash
- A motorcycle requires skill and experience to operate safely
- Motorcycles offer less stability than vehicles with four wheels
- Other motorists have a tendency to overlook motorcycles sharing the road with them
Motorcycles require added physical and mental skill to cope with the specific challenges listed above. For more experienced riders, much of the risk and danger comes from the motorists in other vehicles. Next, we take a look at some of the ways you can ride safer.
What To Do if You are a Motorcyclist
As a motorcycle rider who has developed skills and experience, your greatest threat may be other motorists who are not paying attention and who do not know how to share the road. Some of the most common motorcycle crashes are caused by motorists turning in front of them, or pulling out of a driveway into their path of travel. Unfortunately, you can't do much about the behavior of other drivers. You can remind friends and loved ones of the importance of motorcycle awareness. Beyond that, you can practice these defensive tactics to reduce the chances of a crash:
- Don't drink and drive. In 2017, 28 percent of motorcycle riders killed in accidents were drunk, according to the NHTSA. Inebriation makes you slower to react and impairs judgment. Drinking also interferes with coordination and causes blurry vision, among other effects. And it makes you drowsy. Don't drink and ride. You'll be better prepared for hazards on the road.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets save lives. They protect your brain in an accident. While they won't prevent every fatality, they may protect you if you crash.
- Don't speed. Speeding leads to accidents. Ride within your skill levels and posted speed limits.
- Maintain your motorcycle. Mechanical problems on the road can lead to a collision. Routine maintenance is an essential component of accident prevention.
As attorneys who have handled these cases for years, we have seen how devastating they are. We advocate passionately on behalf of motorcycle accident victims who have suffered an injury because of someone else's negligence.
Call Our Attorneys if You are Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Omaha, Norfolk, Lincoln or any of the surrounding areas in Nebraska, please call the experienced attorneys at Copple, Rockey, McKeever & Schlecht, at 402-371-4300. We will arrange a consultation so that we can advise you of your options for pursuing compensation.