October 17, 2009

The Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents

By their nature, motorcycles are dangerous. They don't have the crumple zones, bumpers, airbags, or seatbelts of cars. It's just you, perched on the top of a slender piece of steel and engine and rubber. Motorcycles usually weight around 500 pounds, while automobiles usually weight around 3,000 pounds or more; SUVs can weight well over 4,000 pounds. So when you consider the possibility of an accident between 500 pounds of motorcycle and 3,500 pounds of car, it's pretty obvious who will come out of that one the winner.

The statistics on motorcycle accidents are correspondingly sobering. In 2007, while fatalities in motor vehicle accidents declined by 3.9% compared to 2006, fatalities for specifically motorcyclists actually increased by 6.6%. There were 4,837 motorcycle fatalities in 2006, and 5,154 in 2007. Motorcycle fatalities accounted for 13% of the total road fatalities in 2007, up from 11% in 2006. And while accidents increased across the board, the most likely to be involved in a fatal accident are still motorcyclists aged 20-29. Additionally, about one fourth of the people in fatal motorcycle accidents had an invalid license. These facts illustrate the steep learning curve that attends riding motorcycles.

Because of the inherent dangers of riding a motorcycle, as well as the proportionally high number of fatal accidents experienced by motorcycle riders, the onus is often on the motorcyclist to be especially careful when riding, to be the most safety-conscious. With this in mind, a brief safety refresher is in order:

* Make sure you legally obtain your Class M license before you hit the road. Getting this license will involve a good amount of safety training which can better prepare you to handle the conditions of the road.
* Make sure you wear the appropriate clothing. Because of the frequency of motorcycle accidents, it's important that you plan ahead when choosing clothing. Leather is best, as it will act as skin should you get in an accident. There are also a number of synthetic products on the market. Wool and cotton cloth offer less protection, as they rip and thread.
* Keep your bike in good road condition. One of the biggest factors in preventing accidents is keeping your machine in safe condition. That means making sure the brakes are working, the tires have threading, the electrical systems work, and the engine and transmission are functional.

For more information about the legal aspects of motorcycle accidents, visit

Joseph Devine

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