When you see a motorcyclist head down the road, what are they usually wearing? If they’ve got any sense, they’re probably wearing a helmet, Kevlar, and leather from head-to-toe in order to protect themselves.
Safety data shows that wearing this kind of protective gear improves the rider’s chances of surviving a motorcycle accident. But even with these precautions, motorcyclists have a risk of dying from an accident that is much higher than that of car drivers or passengers. In recent years, the number of motorcycle crash deaths has exceeded the number of car crash deaths by over 26 times for every mile traveled.
While it’s undeniable that there are similar variables whether driving a motorcycle or a car, motorcycles still have differences that inherently make them much more dangerous. Cars and bikes both travel on roads, at high speeds, and can both hold a lot of power, but motorcyclists are at a much bigger disadvantage.
Here are some of the biggest safety disadvantages that motorcyclists face compared to car drivers:
- Only two wheels instead of four, making balance and driver’s reflexes much more critical
- Open-air vehicle instead of enclosed, allowing an enhanced sense of freedom but with less protection from injuries
- A much smaller size, making them much harder to see and keep track of on the road and thus a higher risk of hitting
All of these factors make riding a bike much more dangerous than getting into an automobile, so it’s no wonder so many people get injured.
Should a motorcyclist get injured, it’s crucial that they first seek medical attention and then seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney like those at the Hankey Law Office.
Evolution of Safety
As car manufacturers constantly enhance the safety features of cars, bike manufacturers are limited to fewer options for safety. This is not to discredit the notable improvements made on motorcycles over the last several years, including:
- Larger mirrors with increasingly expanded fields of vision while driving
- Brighter headlights that are easier to see in darkness
- Airbags to reduce the severity of injury in certain accidents
Even still, motorcycles are never really marketed as being safer than before. Whereas for cars, it’s expected and advertised that each year’s model will become more advanced in its safety features. Things like backup cameras, lane assist, blind spot protection, and smart brakes have all made cars that much safer.
What motorcycles lack, and what keeps engineers from honing similar innovations on bikes, is the technology-driven safety that cars are able to offer. Even if they did have the technology to support features like lane departure warnings or rear-view cameras, the nature of motorcycling doesn’t allow for extra time or distractions. The driver must be fully focused on keeping him or herself safe at every moment, because simply sitting on a still motorcycle requires skill and attention.
While there are safety risks that are nearly impossible to remove due to the nature of a motorbike, there are some steps that can be taken to mitigate the risk of crashing, injury, and death.
It’s no surprise that wearing a helmet is the absolute most crucial thing riders can do to protect themselves while on the bike. Just in one year, these helmets can save nearly 2,000 lives. Scientists also determined that 750 more lives could have been saved, had they been sporting a helmet. It’s interesting, then, that not even half of the states in the United States have laws requiring motorcycle helmets on drivers and riders.
The kind of motorbike being driven also affects the safety risks. Cruiser bikes or standard bikes have the lowest death rate. They are made to go the slowest, are usually the bulkiest, and have some of the best infrastructures. Sport bikes have nearly twice the death rate than that of standard bikes, and super-sport bikes have a death rate that is over four times that of standard bikes.
Final Conclusion: Cars Are Safer
After considering all the mitigation factors and comparing those with the inherent risks of riding a motorcycle, cars still come out on top as a much safer vehicle option. Due to the protection, the extra set of wheels, the visibility, and enhanced technology-driven safety features, cars are much safer to drive or ride in.