What Are the Odds of Surviving a Motorcycle Accident?
July 12, 2022 | Sagi Shaked | Motorcycle Accidents
If you get on a motorcycle today and drive 20 miles to visit a friend, what are the odds that you will get into an accident and die? The answer is simple. There is no way to know. But if you ask what the odds are that you will die in a motorcycle accident versus driving a car, there is an answer.
Traffic safety statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that a person riding a motorcycle is nearly 30 times more likely to suffer a fatality per mile driven than someone in a passenger vehicle. This statistic is due to various factors that all add up to a motorcycle being significantly more deadly than a car.
Lack of Safety Equipment
Anyone who has ever been in a car knows that every car has seat belts, and most cars have airbags. These are both pieces of safety equipment that aren’t available for motorcycles.
The lack of safety equipment that prevents a motorcycle rider from being thrown from the bike during an accident significantly increases motorcycle accident deaths compared to car accident deaths.
A Lack of Helmet Laws
Studies show that helmets decrease motorcycle deaths by almost 40%. Despite this, less than half of the states in the country mandate helmet use by motorcycle riders.
This lack of helmet laws makes motorcycles more deadly for riders and passengers. Even if the laws in your state don’t require you to wear a helmet, you should wear one whenever you ride a bike if you care about your safety.
The Size of a Motorcycle
Compared to cars and trucks, motorcycles are tiny. Most motorcycles are roughly the size of a grown human, and a person riding a motorcycle is often lower to the ground than if they were standing up. All this adds up to something extremely hard for other drivers on the road to see, especially when traveling at high speeds.
Many motorcycle accidents are simply a result of one driver not even seeing the motorcycle. This can be due to the motorcycle slipping into the blind spot of another driver or just blending in among other traffic.
Regardless of the reason, motorcycle riders need to be aware of the fact that they are difficult to see and should take measures to increase their visibility while riding.
Instability of Motorcycles
Cars and trucks have four wheels. If they brush up against another vehicle or drive over a poor stretch of road, they might lose some control but often won’t crash. A motorcycle doesn’t have the same advantage.
Even a small collision with a motorcycle usually results in the bike going to the ground. Similarly, a poorly maintained stretch of road is extremely dangerous for someone on a motorcycle.
While this doesn’t make fatalities more common, it does make accidents more common, and as previously discussed, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in death.
How Can You Avoid a Motorcycle Fatality?
Wearing safety gear and taking steps to prevent accidents are two effective ways to avoid a motorcycle fatality.
In addition to helmets, you can protect yourself from motorcycle fatalities by wearing:
- Leather pants and jacket
- Knee and shin guards
This gear can’t ensure that you will survive a crash, but it will greatly increase your chances, especially if you get into an accident at lower speeds.
Additionally, you should take a defensive motorcycle driving course. This will teach you to recognize and avoid dangers that might cause an accident.