Motorcycles give riders a feeling of freedom that isn't felt anywhere else. However, high speeds and the open road can make accidents particularly dangerous for people on two wheels. With freedom comes responsibility, and riders should take it upon themselves to be aware of risks on the road. What should riders know about the latest danger?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,976 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. This number represents an 8.3 percent increase in deaths from 2014. Motorcyclists are now 29 times more likely to die in a crash than a passenger in a car.
Fatalities up, injuries down
Although motorcycle fatalities rose, the number of injuries fell in 2015. For every 100 bikes on the road, one rider is injured. Why is this the case? The data could suggest that both riders and motor vehicle drivers, overall, are being safer on the road. However, riders may not be doing enough to prevent fatal accidents with simple measures.
Safety data suggests that wearing a helmet is the single most important factor in preventing injury and death among motorcycle riders, but helmet usage data shows that fate may ultimately be determined by rider behavior. In fact, motorcycle riders are more likely than other vehicle operators to engage in risky behavior.
What were the top factors in fatal accidents in 2015?
One-third of the nearly 5,000 people killed in motorcycle accidents were speeding. Speed was an especially important element in deaths among young riders of supersports and older riders who may have slower reaction times.
27 percent of riders involved in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08, according to the NHTSA. Half of all riders who died as a result of intoxication were wearing a helmet. Riders between the ages of 35 and 50 were the most likely to crash as a result of impairment.
Riders who use a motorcycle without a valid license are as likely to die in a crash as an intoxicated rider, according to the data. This could be because riders who do not maintain a valid license do not undergo regular screenings for vision, ability and safety as riders who stay up to date.
The importance of wearing a helmet and avoiding risky behavior is apparent for motorcyclists. What are you doing to ride safely on the road?