According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2015 there were a total of 88,000 motorcycle accident-related injuries. This is particularly troublesome because motorcycle riders are much more vulnerable to severe injuries than other drivers are. That means that when they’re in an accident, the risk factors are such that they may suffer severe or possibly even fatal injuries.
The same amazing sense of freedom that motorcycle riders love to experience when riding also leaves them more exposed. Motorcycles also have a much lower profile than most other vehicles on the road, as well as lower stability. This makes them more susceptible to accidents. These risk factors should be something that all riders are intimately familiar with because it will give them a better chance of avoiding them.
The more risk factors that a rider is exposed to, the greater the chance of an accident which means the greater the chance of severe injuries. By taking the time to learn about and understand how risk factors impact safety, motorcycle riders can decrease the chances that they’ll be in a serious accident.
The following are some of the major risk factors that all riders should be aware of so they can help to avoid them and avoid the injuries that could occur during an accident.
Failing To Wear Protective Gear
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing helmets when riding reduces the risk of death if you’re in an accident by 42%. The risk of a head injury drops by 62%. The point here is simple, wear a helmet. There’s no excuse for not wearing a helmet but every day, motorcycle riders climb on their bikes and fail to wear one.
When you’re looking at the different risk factors, not wearing a helmet is right at the top of the list. Without a helmet, you’re practically begging for a head injury. Can you see the future? No? Well, then you need to prepare yourself accordingly and assume that every time you get on your bike, it could be the day when you end up in an accident.
What other types of protective gear should you wear when you ride? You should also wear a jacket, riding pads, knee pads and gloves. If you aren’t wearing this type of protective gear, you could end up with serious injuries including road rash.
Serious injuries suffered in an accident can mean death, permanent disability or at the very least, long-term medical care.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that failing to wear protective gear when riding increases the risk of sustaining serious injuries. While you can never eliminate the risk of an accident, or the risk of injuries, proper protective gear will increase your odds of being able to walk away from an accident with only minor injuries.
A Lack Of Visibility
The NHTSA says that 38% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2011 were a result of limited rider visibility. Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating, but it’s also dangerous and far more so if other drivers can’t see you on the road.
Why is it so hard for many motorists to see motorcycles? For one thing, they’re smaller than other vehicles. Being smaller makes motorcycles less visible and is one of the main risk factors for riders.
What is a limited visibility accident? It’s an accident involving a car and a motorcycle when the driver of the car didn’t have a clear vision of the motorcycle. As a result of limited visibility, the driver of the car ends up hitting the motorcycle rider.
Whenever a car driver doesn’t see a motorcycle and strikes them, the potential for serious injuries is very high. Without seeing an accident coming, the driver of a car doesn’t know to try to slow down. That means that they’ll hit a rider at full speed which increases the likelihood of serious or even fatal injuries.
Because of the risks associated with limited visibility accidents, all riders should do everything that they can to make themselves as visible as possible.
What can a rider do to make himself more visible? How about wearing a bright jacket when riding? Or, ensuring that you have quality headlights? These are simple steps you can take and these simple steps can save your life.
Operating Your Motorcycle When You’re Under The Influence Of Drugs
Riding your motorcycle when you’re under the influence of drugs, especially alcohol, is a very bad idea. Who would have thought that? This is just common sense! Doing anything when you’re drunk, that requires coordination and quick reactions, is a bad idea.
When you’re on a motorcycle you need to be able to have great coordination and reaction time. The point here is a simple one. Don’t drink or do drugs and ride. Ever.
Are some accidents on the road caused by impaired drivers. Yes. Is there anything you can do about their behavior? No. You can only control your own behavior. Did you know that according to the NHTSA, 20% of motorcyclists who are involved in fatal accidents have a blood alcohol level that is higher than the legal limit?
When you’re not sober, maintaining situational awareness is virtually impossible. That’s what makes an accident far more likely. When riding under the influence, your coordination, balance, and judgment are all negatively affected.
Riding At A High Rate Of Speed
Riding at a high rate of speed greatly increases the chances of a serious accident. In fact, it’s one of the main risk factors for having an accident. Is it exhilarating to ride at high speeds? You bet. Is it dangerous? Absolutely. Riding faster makes it harder to react to dangers and if you do hit something, moving faster makes you hit harder.
Additionally, if you ride really fast and are under the influence of alcohol, the risk more than doubles. It goes up exponentially. The bottom line here is simple. Riding fast might be fun but it’s also incredibly dangerous. So, always ride at a safe speed and obey all posted speed limits.
Riding In Bad Weather
Riding in bad weather is a major risk factor that often leads to serious accidents. Serious accidents mean serious injuries or worse for riders. What kind of bad weather should you avoid riding in whenever possible? Anytime there’s rain, strong winds or any other type of storm, riding your motorcycle is more hazardous than normal.
What might you encounter if you ride during bad weather? You could end up running over debris on the road or losing control when you hit a patch of water or ice. In either case, the risk of a serious accident goes up dramatically.
Final Thoughts On Risk Factors Associated With Severe Motorcycle Accident Injuries
When you ride a motorcycle, your chances of sustaining serious injuries in the event of an accident are much higher than they are for other motorists. Because of this, all riders should exercise great caution whenever they’re on the road.
While some accidents are not preventable, many are and those are the ones you need to avoid. You also need to always wear your protective gear and pay attention to the other risk factors, so you can ride more safely.