There are innumerable types of hobbies in the United States, and some of them actually reach the realm of “lifestyle.” While surely every hobbyist will believe this about their chosen activity, few would argue the fact that riding motorcycles falls into this category. Sadly, this liberating activity also brings with it several risks. Riding motorcycles on American streets always brings the potential for tragedy, and this is something that every safe biker should understand.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The statistics related to motorcycle accidents can be described in one word: staggering. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for instance, found that between the years of 2001 and 2008, the death rate for motorcyclists actually increased 55 percent in U.S. This is a startling rise, and an increase in overall motorcycle use is likely a contributing factor. Motorcycle sales have actually been almost consistently increasing since 1993.
One huge issue with motorcycle accidents is helmet use. About 88 percent of all motorcycle fatalities occur in states that do not have mandatory helmet laws. This makes it apparent that helmets should always be worn. Any motorcyclist who is injured while not wearing a helmet, however, isn’t simply out of luck.
It’s likely that if a biker wasn’t at fault for their accident, even without a helmet, they’re entitled to recover compensation for any injuries they incur. This is because distracted drivers are another huge contributor to motorcycle accidents. An Indianapolis injury attorney states, “We know that even the most experienced rider, wearing full protection, must constantly be vigilant for the negligent driver or dangerous road hazard.” Nationwide, in fact, at least 18 percent of all vehicle crashes are caused by distracted drivers, and sadly, this negligence can be especially detrimental for bikers.
Why Motorcycles are more Dangerous
Sadly, motorcycles are inherently more risky to drive than typical vehicles, at least when it comes to accident involvement. Due to their smaller size, other drivers are much less likely to see them when on the streets. A motorcycle, for instance, fits much more easily into another driver’s blind spot than a pickup truck does.
Also, it’s quite apparent by simply looking at a motorcycle that they don’t provide the protection that a typical automobile does. A driver in a Lexus will fare insanely better in a 15 MPH crash, due to air bags, seat belts, and other safety features, than a biker would in a crash at similar speeds. When cars come to a sudden stop, they restrain their drivers. When motorcycles suddenly stop, their riders continue going forward towards nothing but the pavement and other traffic.
There are several safety tips that every biker should follow. Obviously, car and truck drivers should follow certain rules as well, but if they don’t, it’s usually the biker who suffers. This makes it all the more important for motorcyclists to abide by certain guidelines.
- Wear clothing, such as bright colors or reflective vests, that is noticeable
- Assume that vehicles at intersections (those perpendicular to the motorcycle) can’t see an approaching biker
- ALWAYS wear a helmet. A collapsed skull looks way less cool than a helmet
- Don’t be afraid to get noticed (blow horn) if a driver is distracted, dozing or swerving
Being a biker is a great feeling, but it’s important to realize that it’s also a responsibility. There are certain things that every biker should do to protect themselves, and this list includes many more safety measures than those needed to be taken by traditional vehicle drivers. Sure, it’s true that with the right attorney, a motorcyclist can often get a hefty settlement when a negligent driver leads to an accident. Unfortunately, being right in this situation is a catch-22 since, even with fair compensation, a biker could be seriously injured or even worse.
Ieda Vincent has relatives that are motorcycle enthusiasts and writes this as a reminder to them and others to be cautious and careful on the road. The Indianapolis injury attorney firm of Sevenish Law, are qualified and have a comprehensive background dealing with diverse car accident cases as well as motorcycle proceedings. They are devoted to making those responsible accountable and ensuring their clients collect their just reward.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyngpao/7888149412/