Even if you consider yourself to be a safe motorcycle rider, you could be at higher risk of a crash than you realize. According to recent motorcycle crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riders increase their risk of an accident two or three times over depending on the their age, the time of day they ride, and which maneuvers they attempt on their bikes.
NHTSA’s records from 2013 found that 14 percent of people killed in traffic accidents, as well as 4 percent of those injured, were motorcycle riders. Nearly 5,000 motorcycle riders were killed in traffic accidents, making motorcycle crashes 26 times likelier to be fatal than an automobile accident.
So what is causing all of these of motorcycle crashes? NHTSA found a link between the following risk factors and resulting motorcycle accidents:
- Car collisions. The biggest danger to motorcyclists is still other vehicles on the roadway. In 2013, 51 percent of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes suffered a collision with a moving motor vehicle—and in 74 percent of those crashes, the motor vehicle collided with the front end of the bike.
- Fixed objects. About one-quarter of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013 were the result of a rider colliding with a fixed object, such as a guardrail, telephone pole, tree, signpost, bridge supports, or abutments.
- Left turns. In crashes that involved a motorcycle striking another vehicle, nearly half of motorcyclist fatalities occurred while the other vehicle was turning left. In comparison, fatal motorcycle accidents occurred when both vehicles were going straight in 21 percent of crashes.
- Speeding. A biker who was speeding (including driving too fast for conditions, racing, or riding faster than posted speed limits) was a contributing factor in 34 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents.
- Older riders. Many motorcyclists mistakenly think that young bikers are most at risk of crashes. However, NHTSA discovered that 55 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2013 were over 40—and fatalities in bikers 40 and over have risen nearly 40 percent since 2004.
- Days of the week. Weekends are typically more dangerous driving times for passenger cars, but research shows that motorcyclists may not be any safer on weekdays. While 52 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred on weekends in 2004, fatalities were slightly higher on weekdays in 2013.
Slow Down, Ride Smart, and Stay Safe!
Some vehicles are hesitant to share the road with bikers, while others are outright hostile to motorcyclists, increasing the risk of a crash. As an avid biker, attorney James Roswold knows how tough it can be to ride safely amidst a sea of unforgiving traffic. Read through a free copy of The KC Biker Bible today to learn how to enjoy your ride and stay safe on Kansas City roads!