Could The Advent Of Autonomous Vehicles Be The End For Motorcycles?
Last updated Thursday, October 6th, 2022
Autonomous vehicles, once the purview of science fiction, are now a reality. While self-driving cars are still in the testing phases, there will probably be a point in the near future when we’ll start to see them on the road. When that happens there are going to be a lot of questions.
Laws may change. How will insurance work? Will the owners of autonomous vehicles be responsible for them or will liability fall on the manufacturer? If you choose to drive a vehicle yourself and cause an accident, what type of liability will you be looking at? Will driving your own vehicle even be legal once autonomous cars are a reality?
How Do Autonomous Vehicles Work
While the final designs aren’t perfect yet, autonomous vehicles use cameras and sensors to detect the environment around a car. A computer then controls the car, driving you to your destination.
Self-Driving Cars Should Reduce Accidents
Virtually every accident that happens on the road today is the result of driver error. Sure, there are mechanical issues that come up and other fluke things that cause accidents, but for the most part, it comes down to driver error.
Autonomous cars are an appealing option because they should be able to eliminate driver error. They won’t speed. They won’t drive too close to other drivers. Plus, they won’t run red lights or stop signs. They also won’t get drunk and cause an accident. There’s little doubt that self-driving cars will make the roads safer for everyone.
Self Driving Cars Will Save People Time When They Have A Long Commute
Do you drive a long way to get to and from work? Imagine if you could free up that time to use it for something that is far more productive. With an autonomous vehicle, you’ll be able to do that. Do you have an hour commute? Imagine being able to get in a power nap on the way in.
Or get started on your work for the day. Or, even watch a movie. When you’re the passenger in a car that drives itself, you’ll be able to engage in any number of activities while you’re going to and from work.
Unfortunately, Autonomous Motorcycles Won’t Be An Option
While autonomous vehicles are coming, they won’t include motorcycles. And really, even if they did, would you want to ride on one? Motorcycles require more input from a rider than a car does from a driver. Whereas an autonomous driving car can simply turn when it needs to, this would never work for a motorcycle rider.
Motorcycle riders have to lean and move as they ride because if they don’t, they will probably be thrown off their bikes. While it’s not technically impossible for an autonomous motorcycle to be built, the amount of effort it would take to do so would be enormous.
Even then, if it were to be built, riders would have to be aware and actively participate as they ride which kind of reduces the point of an autonomous ride anyway.
Motorcycles Are All About Freedom
When you think about it, motorcycles aren’t the most practical vehicles. Riders are exposed, so in the event of an accident, they’re more likely to suffer serious injuries than a driver in a car. Riders are also exposed to the weather, which can be frigid, wet, or scorching hot. And, if you require a vehicle for transporting passengers, a motorcycle is definitely not a good option.
With all of their shortcomings, why are motorcycles more popular today than ever before? That’s simple – they’re fun and they give riders the ultimate sense of freedom. There’s nothing like riding on a motorcycle and feeling the wind on your face. It’s an amazing experience, which is why autonomous motorcycles will never be a realistic option. They’ll cost more, move slower, and take away that all-important sense of freedom that riders love.
Could Autonomous Vehicles Make Rider Operated Vehicles Illegal?
Whenever a new technology emerges that has a significant impact on our society, laws will usually have to change to accommodate the impact it has made. When air travel became common, laws and regulations had to be introduced to allow for safe travel.
That’s an example that is at the very heart of self-driving cars. Should operating a car yourself when self-driving cars are far safer, be illegal?
It may seem far-fetched today, but many of the technologies we employ today would have seemed far-fetched a few decades ago. Who could have seen smartphones coming? Or the internet? Or social media? And before that, television?
Technology is constantly evolving and improving and as a society, we have to learn how to harness the power it gives us to make the world as safe and productive as possible.
The reality is that there will probably come a day when autonomous vehicles dominate the roadways. At that point, people who choose to operate vehicles that they control themselves will become the minority. Insurance rates for these drivers will go up since their risk of being involved in an accident will be higher than a self-driving car. Much higher in all likelihood.
While there may be opposition, the majority of people will probably realize that the safety of cars that are computer piloted is so much greater than regular cars, that driving a car yourself makes no sense.
Between the reduction in accidents and the time you can spend doing other things when traveling, self-driving cars will dominate the landscape. As to whether or not traditional cars and motorcycles ever become illegal, that’s a debate that can go either way.
Motorcycles Won’t Be Made Illegal Anytime Soon
If the idea of giving up your motorcycle terrifies you, you shouldn’t lose any sleep over it. A time when autonomous vehicles are legally mandated is probably some time in the future if we ever get there at all, that is. So, enjoy your motorcycle. Go on road trips, and ride with friends, but above all else, be safe when you’re on the road.
That means always obeying all traffic laws as well as riding more carefully during bad weather. It also means being defensive and aware every time you get on your bike. Finally, it also means always wearing proper protective gear when you ride.
Understanding How Self-Driving Cars And Motorcycles Will Co-exist
How are self-driving cars going to impact motorcycle riders? If you’re a motorcycle rider, this is a question that is probably something you’ve been thinking about since the first autonomous cars first started being tested.
An autonomous motorcycle isn’t going to happen. It would be too complex, cost too much, and take all of the fun out of riding a motorcycle. Motorcycles aren’t the most practical vehicles. However, they’re popular because they’re fun to ride.
They allow riders to experience an amazing feeling of freedom and to experience the rush they feel as they zip along the road on a small, agile, and fast vehicle.
Autonomous Vehicles Are Safer Than Traditional Vehicles
Why are autonomous vehicles being developed? The main reason is safety. Driver error is the cause of virtually every accident that happens on the road. When you take the driver out of the equation and allow a computer with a sophisticated set of sensors to drive instead, driving becomes much safer. While there are still some bugs that have to be worked out, preliminary testing is very promising.
Self-Driving Cars Should Make The Streets Safer For Motorcyclists
While an autonomous motorcycle isn’t likely to ever happen, riders can still enjoy the benefits of riding on the street with autonomous vehicles. One of the most dangerous parts of riding a motorcycle isn’t the possibility that a rider will make an error, it’s the possibility that another driver won’t see them and end up hitting them.
Motorcycles have much smaller profiles on the road and are often not seen by drivers, which results in many accidents. Given the fact that motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable in the event of an accident, this is a major concern for all riders.
The advanced sensors and cameras that allow a self-driving car to operate will give that car’s operating system much more comprehensive awareness than a regular driver has. A driver in a car can easily be distracted by any number of issues that can make them much less likely to see a motorcycle on the road.
What happens when you’re driving and the kids are in the backseat fighting? Or what happens if you get a text and make the mistake of trying to read and answer it when you are driving? Or, what if you simply look away for a moment to change your radio?
There are any number of distractions that can take a driver’s attention off of the road for a split second and that split second is all that it takes for there to be an accident. On the other hand, self-driving cars cannot be distracted. They focus only on driving safely which is why they reduce the risks of an accident happening.
Self-Driving Cars Won’t Speed
In any car accident, one of the main aggravating factors is speed. If one car bumps into another while barely moving, the impact will be minimal. But, if cars are driving faster, the force of the impact is greater. This is particularly concerning for motorcyclists since stronger impacts greatly increase the risk of serious injuries.
Unfortunately, many drivers drive faster than the posted speed limit. That means that many drivers are increasing the likelihood of a serious accident for both themselves as well as other drivers and motorcyclists.
With self-driving cars, you won’t have to worry about them going faster than the posted speed limit. They’ll be programmed to drive at or below the speed limit and will automatically reduce their speed when they’re driving in hazardous conditions. Lower speed, combined with greater awareness and a lack of distractions, makes self-driving cars a safer option for everyone.
Self-Driving Cars Will Obey All Traffic Laws
While speeding is a concern for motorcycle riders, it’s far from the only concern. Drivers that run red lights, run stop signs, and engage in other illegal and dangerous driving actions are also a concern. There are rules in place for a reason. Therefore, when a driver chooses to ignore those rules, accidents can and do happen.
If a driver runs a red light, the chances of a collision are very high. These are the types of accidents where vehicles usually impact one another at a high rate of speed. For car drivers this is dangerous, for motorcyclists it can easily be fatal.
Why do drivers run red lights and engage in other dangerous driving behaviors? Sometimes it’s due to being distracted. Conversely, a driver may be in a hurry and decide to try to make a traffic light before it changes. Consequently, they may then not have enough time to stop when they don’t make it.
Sometimes drivers just don’t care about the consequences and they drive recklessly. No matter why they do it, the fact is that a driver who doesn’t obey all traffic laws makes the roads more dangerous for everyone.
Self-Driving Cars May Make Your Insurance Rates Go Up
If self-driving cars make the roads safer, how could they make your insurance rates go up? Exactly how car insurance will work in the future when self-driving cars are on the road remains a mystery. Will the owner of the car be responsible? What about the manufacturer of the car? What if the car needs repairs that weren’t taken care of by the owner? Would the responsibility shift to them?
There are a lot of questions that need answering. One of them involves what the insurance rates will be like for people who choose to operate a vehicle themselves. Self-driving cars should be far safer. This means that if you aren’t driving one, you’re choosing to engage in riskier behavior.
Insurance companies are not fans of risky behavior. They make their money when they receive no claims. So, insurance companies are likely to love self-driving cars and dislike anyone who chooses to not utilize them.
Therefore, in order to get people to adopt self-driving cars, insurance companies will probably raise the rates charged to people who operate traditional vehicles. This is how self-driving cars, despite being safer in just about every way imaginable, can make the insurance rates for motorcycle riders go up.
Can Self-Driven Vehicles Make Motorcycle Riding a Safer Experience?
While many argue that the concept might take the fun out of it, the prevailing sentiment towards autonomous vehicles has been a positive one. And that’s especially the case for safety when on the road where we’re often at the mercy of other drivers and their judgment.
The Implications Of Self Driven Vehicles For Motorcycle Riding
Motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable species on the road. That’s because they’re not as clearly visible as cars so they often appear out of nowhere. Speeding is a problem, as is driving while intoxicated. But in many cases, bikers are not responsible for the crash. And in many of those instances, it’s the biker who gets the short end of the stick.
In the last 10 years, there have been 36 times more motorcycle deaths than with any other type of transportation. That’s a reason for concern. But things are changing for the better. Self-driven vehicles can make motorcycle riding significantly safer. The most common type of such vehicle is a car, but there are several concepts of “smart” motorcycles that will have some autonomous capabilities.
Autonomous Vehicles Increase Safety
In the majority of motorcycling accidents, the biker is not at fault. One of the biggest causes of accidents is left-hand turns and these often turn out to be fatal. And a major reason for that is the fact that the driver was unable to see the motorcycle. As so many car drivers say, the bike turned up “out of nowhere”.
Partly, it’s due to human error, but it’s also partly unavoidable at times especially if the bike rider travels at higher speeds. Often, it’s a combination that’s fatal. Self-driven vehicles can massively decrease the likelihood of fatal outcomes for motorcycle riders.
Autonomous vehicles will be equipped with the latest technology to ensure safety on the road. Left-hand turn accidents would decrease as these vehicles would have sensors and gadgets installed that would recognize the bike and stop the vehicle to prevent an accident.
Or, another common issue is when a bike overtakes a car, for example. As the driver is unable to see the motorbike, they make a turn and inadvertently cause an accident. Such mishaps can be avoided with technology.
Therefore, the general consensus seems to be that autonomous vehicles would improve road safety for everyone included. But not everyone is elated with the idea.
BMW’s Attempt At Self-Driven Motorcycles
It’s significantly harder to create a self-driven motorcycle than a car, for example. But at BMW, they were not deterred by this idea. They were one of the first companies to plunge into this market. The result is the 2019 self-driven motorcycle that uses robotic technology to operate.
Many riders will be disgusted by this idea, as the whole point of motorcycle riding is to have fun. But the truth is that such technology can be incredibly helpful for increasing road safety for motorcycle riders. Such vehicles would have the capability to “talk” to other vehicles in order to avoid crashes.
How this idea develops remains to be seen. All we can say is that self-driven vehicles can increase the safety of motorcycle riders significantly.
Can Automated Driving Technology Improve Motorcycle Safety?
Can automated driving technology make motorcycles safer to ride? Maybe, but only if the technology keeps in mind the unique method of transportation that motorcycles provide. If you’re in a car that has automatic braking, it will apply the brakes for you. Especially, if you’re about to hit something. This helps to prevent an accident.
You may momentarily be restricted by your seatbelt, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid hitting another vehicle, object, or person when you are driving.
Now, try to imagine what would happen to a motorcycle that suddenly braked without the rider knowing what was about to happen. The rider on a motorcycle isn’t restrained by a seatbelt, so if a motorcycle is moving quickly and suddenly stops, the rider could be thrown off the bike.
Another concern would be the motorcycle falling over. Since motorcycles require riders to balance them while riding if one suddenly stops unexpectedly it could cause a rider to drop the bike and fall.
Automated Driving Technology That Makes Motorcycles Safer
Anti-lock brakes have been a standard feature on cars for many years. Now, they are finally becoming more common on motorcycles. Anti-lock brakes are particularly useful when riding on slick roads. They can help a rider to more safely slow their bike and avoid dangerous skids.
Damon Motorcycles has developed an all-electric motorcycle that incorporates an AI-powered co-pilot system. The motorcycle uses a series of cameras to track the movement and speed of up to 64 objects around the bike.
The system will then alert riders when there is a risk of an impact. By alerting a rider instead of braking for them, it gives the rider the ability to react to the threat. That’s far better than being surprised by a motorcycle that suddenly brakes. The AI system also learns the riding habits and style of the rider and adapts itself accordingly .
Defensive Riding Is The Best Way To Stay Safe On The Road
Even with more automated driving technology available on motorcycles, the best way to stay safe on the road is to use common sense and defensive riding techniques. It’s unlikely that motorcycles will ever achieve the same level of automation that cars will. They simply require too much rider feedback to operate.
That means that you’ll probably never be able to get on a motorcycle, tell it where to take you, then just relax and enjoy the ride. But, even if that were possible, would you really want to do it? Wouldn’t it take most of the fun and thrill out of riding?
Motorcycle safety features are going to improve in the future as more automation is incorporated into them. But, no matter how automation features advance, you should never rely on them for your safety. Always wear protective gear when riding, ride defensively, and avoid riding in dangerous conditions.
If you act responsibly and utilize automated driving technology to enhance what you’re already doing, you’ll decrease the odds that you’ll be in an accident.