Motorcyclists experience a death rate 35 times greater than the occupants of cars; most of the injuries are to the head and the use of helmets reduces the risk of fatal head injury about one third, and the risk of facial injury by two thirds. Fractures of the lower extremities are also common in motorcyclists, occurring in approximately 40% of motorcyclists hospitalized for non-fatal injuries.
Because of their small size and fast acceleration rate, motorcycles are often not seen in time by drivers of larger vehicles. This puts the motorcycle rider at risk. More than 30% of motor vehicle/motorcycle collisions occur at intersections because the driver did not see the motorcyclist in time. Learning how to be seen is one of the most important skills motorcycle riders need to have.
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Statistically, you’re 28 times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than if you are in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Washington State, motorcycle-related fatalities increased from 75 in 2015 to 81 in 2016. There were 77 fatal motorcycle accidents reported in 2018, while at least 375 other motorcycle accidents resulted in very serious injuries. With the number of registered bikes rising from 7,138,476 in 2007 to 8,679,380 in 2016, increasing your awareness and safety precautions is certainly advised.
While it may be fun for many folks, motorcycle riding can be a dangerous activity. Taking precautions such as wearing helmets, observing speed limits, and not drinking and driving obviously cut down on these terrible accidents, but what else can you do to proactively avoid a motorcycle accident?
Tips for Motorcycle Safety
- Using your headlight, donning reflective gear and brightly colored clothing , as well as putting that horn to good use are all ways to make sure that other drivers see and hear you. Staying in your lane and observing traffic laws will keep you safe on the road.
- Wear a DOT-approved, full-face helmet at all times while operating or riding on a motorcycle. Skipping this makes you two times more likely to experience a traumatic brain injury from a crash.
- Eye protection, gloves, and boots that protect your ankles are advisable. When temperatures drop, be sure to wear long sleeves and pants made of leather or other heavy-duty fabric.
- Be on the lookout for potholes, railroad tracks, uneven pavement, sand patches, and other hazardous road conditions when riding your motorcycle. Stay extra alert at intersections, and keep an eye out for roadwork signage, as even familiar roadways can present unexpected challenges.