US Motorcycle Accidents
A Road Overview
Many American are drawn to motorcycles for the thrills they offer. Riding a motorcycle is driving a vehicle uncaged. Feeling the wind against you as the engine rumbles below you can be liberating. However, that feeling of freedom many chase also comes with risks. Motorcycle riders stand no chance when they collide with larger vehicles. Approximately 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death compared to 20% for automobiles. Motorcycle riders are prone to sustain greater injuries due to fact that they aren’t encased in a protective metal cage like automobile passengers are. While accidents happen and some injuries are unavoidable steps can still be taken to make the roadways a safer place for motorcycle riders.
Approximately 252 motorcycle injuries occur every day as a result of motorcycle collisions. One of the largest causes of motorcycle accidents is illegal speeding. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33% of all fatal motorcycle crashes were caused by speeding. Furthermore, 29% of all fatal crashes involved alcohol intoxication. These are big issues that can’t be directly addressed. To cut down on intoxicated driving and speeding tighter enforcement of existing laws will be required along with well executed multi-channel public service announcement campaigns. On the other hand, there are a number of issues that can be addressed in the more immediate future.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation provides motorcycle education, training, and licensing for motorcycle riders. The MSF works to promote the use of safety gear, sober riding, and riding within skill limits, among other things. However, many states don’t require riders to take any kind of safety courses before receiving a license. This is a huge issue as it leaves many riders without a basic understanding of the safety precautions that should be taken while riding. Currently, only three states (Connecticut, Delaware, and Tennessee) offer incentives to complete motorcycle training courses in the form of mandated insurance discounts. Many states even lack adequate safety regulations. A whopping 28 out of 40 states do not require adults over the age of 17-20 to wear a helmet. A helmet is the minimum level of protection any given rider should be wearing.
Some of the features or lack there of on a motorcycle are also a huge safety hazard. Motorcycles have separate brakes on the front and rear wheels. Being that the brakes are separate, a hard brake can lock the wheels causing the bike to overturn. On the other hand, should a rider not brake hard enough, he/she can ride right into a collision. There’s a delicate balance riders must learn to master with traditional bike brakes, but there are other options available. With antilock braking systems, a rider can fully brake without fear of locking up. The system automatically reduces brake pressure when a lockup is about to occur. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that a motorcycle with antilock brakes is 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
Furthermore, while airbags are a standard feature in any automobile, they are not a common safety feature for motorcycles. Granted, it is harder to build an effective airbag for a motorcycle, but several bike gear companies have now started to produce wearable airbags that inflate to cushion the body upon impact. Wearable airbag suits are incredibly effective at reducing injury, but most of these products run in the thousands, leaving many riders unable to afford this level of protection.
How GOBWS Is Helping
Get On Board With Safety is a group of concerned citizens advocating for increased state safety regulations, further motorcycle safety awareness, and more affordable/prevalent motorcycle safety gear. We’re pushing for more states to adopt MSF licensing programs and helmet safety laws. We’re also urging motorcycle manufacturers to implement antilock brake systems on all manufactured bikes and we’re working with safety gear producers to make motorcycle safety gear more affordable. We’re fighting for change as hard as we can, but there’s never enough help. Please get on board with safety and contact us if you’d like to join our cause in making the roads a safer place for all drivers.