Riding a motorcycle has some advantages. Motorcycles are less expensive to own and operate, and they are easier to maintain than a car. Motorcycles can be more flexible in traffic situations, enabling the rider to weave through even stopped traffic with comparative ease. Along with these advantages, however, come some inherent safety risks for the rider. Motorcycle riders have less protection, so the potential for serious injury from an accident is high. Learning and following motorcycle safety guidelines can help keep riders safer.
Approximately 8.5 million motorcycles are on roadways and highways as of 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. With the increasing popularity of motorcycles, accident statistics are sobering. In 2013, 4,668 people died as a result of motorcycle accidents, according to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During the same year, about 88,000 motorcycle riders were injured in accidents.
Some accidents are common with motorcycles, so motorcyclists might learn about typical accidents to learn how to avoid them. Common accidents include those that involve car drivers not seeing motorcyclists on the road. As a result of the reduced visibility, a vehicle might turn left in front of a motorcycle or change lanes into a motorcycle. Cars may also hit motorcyclists from behind when drivers don’t see the motorcycles.
Defensive driving is one key to avoiding and preventing motorcycle accidents. Car drivers may not see motorcycles on the road, which can create a dangerous situation for motorcyclists. A motorcyclist using defensive driving tactics will be constantly vigilant for possible dangers while riding. Increasing the distance between motorcycles and cars is one defensive driving strategy. Paying careful attention to the road and avoiding distractions are additional methods of defensive riding.
A common myth among motorcyclists is that helmets reduce their field of sight; however, experts have found this to be false. Some motorcyclists fear that helmets will reduce their ability to hear while riding, but this is an unfounded concern, as well. Helmets are exceedingly important gear for motorcyclist safety. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents due to the unenclosed position of motorcycle riders.