Many think of motorcyclists as “daredevils” prone to getting in accidents, but collisions involving motorcycles don’t necessarily occur at a higher rate than other motor vehicle accidents. However, the vulnerability of motorcyclists does mean these crashes result in a disproportionate number of fatalities and severe injuries.
Some distinctive risks include:
- Size and stature of a bike — Motorcycles are two-wheeled and smaller and lighter than cars.Inparticular, with modifications for highway driving, sport bikes are designed for racing and can reach exceptionally high speeds.
- Lesser road hazard susceptibility — Hazards of lesser consequence to a car or truck can cause severe motorcycle crashes, such as wet pavements, uneven surfaces, gravel and debris.
- Vehicle stability — Two-wheeled vehicles are less stable than vehicles with four or more wheels. Front wheels may have a tendency to wobble at high speeds, and the risk increases when a biker is swerving or using his or her emergency break.
- No buffer — Motorcycles are simply less protective to their drivers than cars and trucks. This matters in an accident with a fixed object — like another vehicle or a road median. Helmets, whether open or full face, certainly help prevent fatalities. Still, they are not absolute protection against head injuries or injuries from the shoulder down.
- Visibility — A motorcycle’s size obscures it from other drivers, especially when making left turns, traveling through intersections or engaging in lane changing maneuvers.
The level of experience a biker has can also pose a risk. In 2011, nearly a quarter of national fatalities involved bikers who were not licensed or trained properly and were, therefore, less experienced. In the case of sport bikes, the drivers are invariably younger (under 30) and less risk adverse. Fatalities involving sport bike accidents are proportionately greater than with standard bikes, cruisers and touring motorcycles. Younger riders are more likely to engage in risky behavior like speeding and riding drunk.
Bikers are hardly destined to a grim fate, however. While they cannot always account for other vehicles on the road, bikers can affirmatively reduce the chances of an accident. Bikers can use professional training to increase awareness of the dangers of speeding, riding too close to others and drunk driving, and by wearing proper safety gear, properly maintaining the bike and being aware of the limitations of other drivers.
For more than 35 years we have helped motorcycle accident victims set the record straight. Please contact the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, PA for a free consultation.