How Dangerous Are Motorcycles?


Quick Answer

Motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than passenger vehicles; 13.10 registered cars out of 100,000 were involved in a fatal accident in 2006 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, compared to 72.34 registered motorcycles out of 100,000. Motorcycle riders are approximately 30 times more likely to die than drivers.

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Full Answer

Much of the danger involved in riding motorcycles is due to their design. Cars and trucks have seat belts and airbags, which protect drivers if they crash; motorcycles lack these features, and riders often hit the road when they crash. Passenger vehicles use crumple zones and steel reinforcements to direct some of the energy of the crash away from drivers and passengers. Motorcycles, by design, lack these features. In addition, vehicles with two wheels are inherently less stable than those with four.

Despite the dangers of riding a motorcycle, riders can take steps to avoid some accidents. Learning to ride safely in difficult weather conditions can prevent single-vehicle accidents. A greater proportion of fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol, which riders should avoid. Being proactive can help riders avoid accidents due to the negligence of drivers by exercising caution in intersections and trying to stay out of drivers' blind spots, which are large enough to block out a motorcycle completely. Many areas don't require riders to wear helmets, which are designed to prevent head trauma.

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