Are motorcycles safe? What should you know before you take your bike out on the next trip?
For many motorcyclists, there is nothing like the feeling of heading out on the open road. Their reasons for doing so are as unique as they are: some appreciate the quality of a superbly crafted bike. Others love the sense of freedom. Some find it peaceful, while others enjoy the biker community and the people they meet. Still, others want to reduce their carbon footprint (maybe this isn’t top of mind, but motorcycles do generate much lower levels of pollution).
Many car and truck drivers can’t understand why anyone would want to ride a motorcycle. For riders, it’s hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t.
Drivers of four-wheeled vehicles, though, have a point. Motorcyclists face a variety of unique hazards given the design of their bikes – and other drivers on the road who sometimes seem blind to anything on two wheels.
So, in the face of motorcycle dangers, is it worth the risk?
Riding a Motorcycle Is Dangerous
Well, so is driving a car! But riders do have a heightened risk of sustaining a serious injury when they are involved in motorcycle accidents. The lack of structural support – doors and a roof offer protection to car and truck drivers – is a key factor.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths for motorcyclists is 29 times greater than for car drivers per mile traveled. Twenty-nine times. That is a frightening statistic.
Head injuries, which can have severe and lifelong effects are more common as well. These often require extensive treatment, which can include intensive residential care. Injuries to the legs are also frequent “side effects” of accidents.
It is not that motorcyclists are irresponsible, reckless outlaws, as some would paint them (especially attorneys representing drivers who have hit them). Not at all. The vast majority obey the rules of the road, and in fact, are more cautious than other drivers because they understand the motorcycle dangers involved.
Work Hard, Ride Hard
Another reason to ride a motorcycle? It burns about 40 calories more per hour than driving a car! That’s because it’s demanding.
Physically, you must be able to maintain your balance even as you lean into corners at higher speeds or navigate traffic at slower speeds. This can be difficult; if you are considering becoming a motorcycle rider, don’t forget to factor in the effort it takes.
There is also mental effort involved. Distractions can kill you. You have to be continually aware of your surroundings and of other drivers. And you need to make sure that they are aware of you. Road conditions (e.g., slippery roads) pose more of a hazard to you as well, so you have to remain on the lookout constantly. No daydreaming allowed!
This is true everywhere, but Florida motorcycle operators have the challenge of traffic and congestion. The Sunshine State is a mecca for tourists and other riders, meaning you’ll have to share the road with a lot of people – who aren’t always as aware of motorcycles as they should be.
Motorcyclists are always “on.” If you forget to use your turn signal, if you go too fast, if you don’t turn on your lights when you should if you don’t watch out for changes in pavement…if you don’t consider the motorcycle dangers that are coming at you from literally all directions, you can find yourself in dire circumstances.
If you choose to operate a motorcycle, do yourself a favor: make sure you undergo the proper training. In Florida, you must pass the Basic Rider Course (required of new riders age 16 and older) through the Florida Rider Training Program. The course teaches you how to manage your environment and avoid collisions. It may be among the best investment of time in your life. Maybe not the most fun, but certainly well worth it if it helps you stay safe.
Only after you have completed this course can you obtain your Motorcycle Only License or Motorcycle Endorsement for your regular driver’s license.
Are Motorcycles Safe?
They are as safe as the people operating them.
Yes, there are motorcycle dangers. Yes, there are risks. You must decide if it is worth it to you and if you have the physical and mental wherewithal to effectively manage a bike in all conditions – whether you’re facing stretches of empty road or congested city streets.
Riders who truly appreciate the benefits and cannot imagine a life without their motorcycles accept the risk and do everything within their power to mitigate it, avoid accidents, and drive safely and responsibly.
If you are injured while riding, please contact LaBovick Law Group. One of the risks you should not have to face is going without the compensation you are owed by someone at fault in your accident.