Motorcycles are cool, loud, edgy… and risky. While you may look dangerous while cruising the road on your hog, the reality is that it is you who is in danger. Motorcycles are considered the most dangerous motor vehicle on the road, topping passenger cars and tractor-trailers with shocking statistics. Simply put, motorcyclists are at a far higher risk to be involved in, and die from, traffic-related accidents.
Why Are Motorcycles So Dangerous?
Motorcycles are less stable than cars, and also much smaller. Even though they may be able to weave in and out of traffic with ease, saving you time and gifting you with great gas mileage, tough road conditions and loose gravel can cause more harm to a motorcycle than it can to a four-wheeled passenger car.
Also, it’s not always easy to be seen while you’re riding on your motorcycle. So you’re at a higher risk of getting hit by cars that are passing or shifting lanes. And with such high rates of distracted driving these days, it’s more dangerous to rely on other drivers’ focus on the road than ever before. Finally, if a car does hit you, you have less protection than people in other types of vehicles, including the fact that it’s a lot easier to get thrown off of a bike than it is to get thrown out of a car.
In 2014, over 4,500 people died in motorcycle crashes. For every mile driven, traffic-related fatalities on motorcycles are 26 times higher than traffic-related fatalities in cars. Unfortunately, this number continues to rise every year. Motorcycle deaths doubled between 1997 and 2014.
So how do we reverse this trend and get that number moving back towards zero?
Motorcycle Safety Tips for the Summer
Now is a great time to review motorcycle safety, because summer is the most dangerous season to take your bike out on the road. Over 60% of motorcycle deaths take place between May and September, and right now we’re smack in the middle of that.
Seasoned veterans and rookies riders alike alike can benefit from reading these safety tips and polishing off some safe riding habits. Here are just a few things that you can do:
- Wear a helmet. We’re going to say it again: wear a helmet. We know that helmets aren’t the coolest accessories, but wearing one could save your life. Helmets prevent 67% of brain injuries and 37% of motorcycle deaths. Despite what your state’s laws on helmet usage are, they are extremely important for a safe ride.
- Lay Off the Booze. Alcohol is just as dangerous behind the handlebars of a motorcycle as it is behind the wheel of a car. Actually, it’s more dangerous, because motorcycles require more skill and precision. And alcohol, of course, impairs your judgment, something that you’ll need desperately if a car is drifting lanes and may hit you. Over 40% of motorcycle deaths involve a blood alcohol content of over .08%, which is the legal limit for operating any motor vehicle.
- Get Your Bike Inspected. Make it a habit to get your bike checked out once a year before the summer starts. As motorcycle deaths increase, more technology is becoming available to make motorcycles as safe as possible. Check to see if antilock braking systems (ABS) or airbags can be installed on your motorcycle. Also make sure that your engine, tires, and steering system is in good shape. Mechanical issues are often a factor in causing motorcycle accidents.
- Watch Your Speed: Speeding is especially dangerous on a motorcycle. In 2013, speeding was a factor in 21% of all passenger car deaths, compared to 34% of all motorcycle deaths. While you’re riding across state and county lines, be mindful of the changes in speed limits.
- Talk to Drivers: If you drive a car and also ride a motorcycle, you will probably be more vigilant for cyclists and drive more cautiously when you see a bike on the road. Not everyone has this experience. In fact, motorcycles only account for 3% of the vehicles on the road, so make sure you talk to friends and family about safe driving around motorcycles.
If You Are Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
Safe driving and proper care of your bike are vital to avoiding injuries, but accidents still happen. When those accidents do happen, you may rack up tens of thousands of dollars in damages to your bike and in personal injuries. In many cases, the other cars involved may have caused or played a big part in your accident. You should be able to file a lawsuit against those drivers to cover your damages in the form of medical bills and other expenses.
If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to damages and compensation. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1996. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.