How to Stay Safe if you are Buying a Bike
So, how dangerous are motorcycles, really? We’ve all had that dream to ride across the U.S. with the wind blowing through our hair. We’re riding into the sunset, and it’s like a scene out of Easy Rider. We’re rocking a leather jacket, the engine is revving, somehow there’s a soundtrack playing behind. But we’ve also all heard something along the same lines: motorcycles are dangerous, motorcyclists are constantly getting run over, motorcycles just aren’t safe. Stick with the car. And those words scare a lot of us out of trying to live that motorcycling dream. Well, how worried should we be? Are the worriers right that motorcycles are so dangerous? Or is the fear overrated? Unfortunately, it seems the worriers have it right. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 72.34 motorcycle deaths per 100,000 registered motorcyclists. That’s a massive jump from the numbers for cars, which are just 13.10 per 100,000 drivers. That means riding a motorcycle is 35 times are dangerous as driving a car. But, let’s say, you’re determined to buy a bike anyway. The sunset is calling to you. You need that wind blowing through your hair. Well, what steps can you take to lower your chances of an accident? First and foremost, just pay attention. A lot of this has to do with motorcyclists just not paying attention. In fact, a study done in 1981, called the Hurt Report, found that motorcyclists were at fault for two-thirds of all incidents that involved a single vehicle, and that was mostly because they weren’t paying attention. Another stunning statistic from the same study, almost half of the fatal motorcycle accidents involved alcohol. Compare that to the measly 2% of accidents where the weather was to blame. Another study, MAIDS, found that in 69% of accidents, no evasive maneuvers were used. The next major point is to just wear a helmet. According to the MAIDS report, that would have reduced the chance of injury by almost 70%. So, sorry, no wind blowing through your hair folks. The main point is, be aware of yourself and others. And just be responsible. The most common reasons for motorcycle accidents are:
- Reckless and careless driving by either you or another
- Mechanical malfunction
- Road defects
- And, once again, drunk driving
So, if you stay sober, keep your bike in good working order, and drive safely, you’ve definitely improved your chances of making all the way across your cross-country road trip. One final point: make sure you get some good insurance. Obviously, because you’re left out in the open with so little protection, when accidents do happen, they tend to be pretty bad. So, get the best coverage you can, even if it costs as much as your bike. If you have all that covered, all I can say is, stay safe and enjoy the ride.