Motorcycle riders often say that they like the freedom that comes along with riding the open road, unencumbered by the shield of a car body. Car drivers are often annoyed by motorcyclists. Both motorcyclists and car drivers need to be aware of what to do to ensure that motorcyclists and cars can safely coexist on the road.
Why is motorcycle riding dangerous?
As enjoyable as motorcycle riding may be, it is also undoubtedly more dangerous than driving a car. In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in crashes. This represented approximately a 5% decrease, but motorcycle riders are still more likely to be killed in crashes than the drivers or passengers of other types of vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely to die in a crash as the occupants of a car.
To some degree, the amount of danger one faces as a motorcycle rider is unavoidable. The nature of the vehicle is that it is unenclosed, which in itself makes a motorcycle many times more dangerous than a car, for the simple fact that a motorcyclist is exposed to the elements and exposed directly to the surface of any other vehicle or obstacle he or she may collide with. Motorcycles don’t lend themselves to seat belts, so a driver or passenger is much more likely to be ejected from the vehicle, which as we know is a direct cause of a great number of traffic fatalities. Even if a motorcyclist simply drops the bike, he or she can be in danger of road rash, broken bones, or other trauma.
How to Stay Safe as a Motorcycle Rider
Riding a motorcycle is fun, but it’s definitely more dangerous and difficult than driving a car. In addition to the challenges presented by the very nature of the vehicle, a motorcycle is also more difficult to control than a car is. Motorcycles have fewer tires than a car does, which means that they have less of a grip on the road, making any obstacle, road surface damage, or icy patch more dangerous for a motorcycle.
If you’re going to ride a motorcycle, it’s imperative to be properly licensed. The reason a motorcycle license is required is that driving a motorcycle is significantly different from driving a car. You’ll need to pass a written test and a driving test specific to motorcycle driving to obtain a motorcycle license. Of fatal crashes involving motorcycle riders in 2017, 29% of them did not have valid motorcycle licenses.
Have practice handling your motorcycle before you take it out into heavy traffic. Check your motorcycle before driving to make sure everything is in working order. Any cargo should be properly secured and the weight distributed. If you have a passenger, you should instruct them on how to safely ride. Proper protection should always be worn, as it is the only barrier between you and the road or any other obstacle. Helmets, boots, gloves, and heavy clothing covering arms and legs should be worn. Motorcyclists should also take care to drive safely. Many motorcycle-involved crashes occur simply because another driver didn’t see the motorcyclist. As a motorcyclist, you can help by wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and keeping your headlights on at all times. Finally, stay alcohol and drug-free when you ride. In 2017, 28% of motorcycle riders who were killed in crashes were drunk.
How You Can Help Protect Motorcyclists as a Car Driver
Car drivers should be aware that motorcycles’ size makes them harder to spot, and more vulnerable in an accident. Cars should keep a lookout for motorcycles and try to be aware of where a motorcyclist is at all times. Also, understand that motorcycles face specific safety challenges and need to be handled differently than a car. Give motorcycle riders space and try to anticipate their movements.