It’s summertime and everyone wants to have fun, including those who like to drive or ride on motorcycles.
But that fun feeling of cruising on your bike should not be taken lightly. Deciding to purchase a motorcycle causes your driving risk to skyrocket compared to that of driving a car. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that “motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car.” The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 4,500 people were killed in America while riding a motorcycle in 2014, and that number has been the national average since 2008.
The big difference between a motorcycle and a car is size. Motorcycles are often involved in crashes because the driver of the other car cannot see the motorcyclist. The signs that go up in early summer are telling: “Look Twice, Save a Life” and “Watch Out for Motorcycles”, to name a few.
However, there are proactive steps that motorcycle riders can take to increase their level of safety. Matt Brown, a motorcycle owner who was involved in a head-on collision, discusses “the top four things that will kill you” when choosing to ride a motorcycle: “Being a new rider, being a drunk rider, having an oncoming car turning left in front of you, and not wearing a helmet.”
Two of these things, wearing a helmet and not driving intoxicated, will immensely decrease your risk of death while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 28% of motorcycle deaths were alcohol-impaired in 2013. They also estimate that if every motorcyclist wore a helmet, there would be 40% to 50% less deaths per year due to motorcycle accidents. Speeding also accounts for 48% of fatalities from motorcycle riders, according to IIHS.
Let’s face it, driving a motorcycle safely means being proactive on the road. Preparing yourself before you decide to ride can have a positive impact on your riding experience and your life. After purchasing a motorcycle, be sure to obtain a valid motorcycle license and be extremely cautious of your surroundings and other drivers on the road. Also, consider taking a safety course. The State of Ohio offers a Basic Rider’s Course. As a motorcyclist, you can’t make the other guy see you, but you can be better prepared for their actions.