Is Death Lurking on our Roads?

By: astrid bidanec

Everyone knows that riding motorcycles is not only a means of transportation but also a passion for many. Unlike a car, a motorcycle becomes an extension of the owner's soul, starting with the specific type of motorcycle the rider chooses. The downside however, is too many motorcycle accidents result in death for the rider and any passengers due to the maximum exposure of the human body to any source of impact. It does not have to be this way-there are ways to avoid a tragic outcome!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published several reports to shed light on the causes and trends in motorcycle fatalities occurring in the U.S. Even though numbers do not lie, they can often be overwhelming to make sense of.

One of the most noticeable aspects is the use of a motorcycle helmet with injury prevention.

"From 1984 through 2003, NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 14,922 motorcyclists," as stated in the report 'Motorcycle Helmet Use Laws.' The NHTSA further concludes that 10,148 more lives could have been saved by the use of a helmet.

States like Florida, where the use of a motorcycle helmet is only mandatory for riders under the age of 21, or any riders with less than $10,000 in medical coverage, show a high increase in fatalities, as well as non-fatal head injuries since the use of a helmet became optional in July 2000. Moreover, recent evidence shows that even riders under 21 years of age often leave the helmet at home.

Aside from the bodily harm, this can also lead to sky high medical expenses in the event of an accident. Treatment cost for the average head injuries is estimated between $10,000 and $45,602 according to the NHTSA.

While the use of a helmet can certainly be a life saver, it has also been proven that the consumption of alcohol can have serious effects for any motorcyclists getting on a bike afterwards. Statistics show the age of the rider, and the size of the motorcycle to have little effect on the outcome in the event of a DUI. It does seem to affect people between 30-49 years of age worse though. Most likely because agility and reaction time already decrease with age, while alcohol further adds to those impairments.
The growing popularity of motorcycles is evident in the increasing number of registrations, as well as the increase in fatalities. Whether it is due to mid-life crisis's, or better financial standing, one thing is certain: the average rider is getting older. This phenomenon is concurrent with the increase in engine size. Motorcycles are getting bigger and heavier. This could very well be a significant factor in the increase of 115 percent in fatalities from 1997 to 2005. It might be safe to conclude that a smaller bike might be easier to handle under any circumstances.

According to the NHSTA most accidents and fatalities occur on weekends, when more recreational riders are on the roads. Naturally, the night time further presents additional dangers to motorcyclists, since they are harder to spot in the dark.

Of course riding a motorcycle is one's own personal statement of freedom and independence, but it does not have to be a commitment to recklessness. .

While protective motorcycle gear like a helmet can certainly keep a biker safe, it is also important to avoid riding a motorcycle after the consumption of alcohol. Last but not least, the size of the bike should not physically overwhelm the motorcyclists to make navigation and flexibility possible. With just a little more conscious effort towards safety, bikers can enjoy years of healthy riding.

Car Accidents
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Car Accidents