Home > Ask Gary > Are motorcycle riders more at-risk of accidents (or death) than drivers of other vehicles?

Are motorcycle riders more at-risk of accidents (or death) than drivers of other vehicles?

motorcycleUnfortunately, the answer is yes. According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than occupants of cars (or larger vehicles) to die in a crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured. Because motorcycles are so much smaller than other vehicles and riders are largely unprotected, they are extremely vulnerable.

Motorcycle deaths have increased every year for 14 of the past 15 years, except in 2009, which saw a decline. In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists died on America’s roads, accounting for 15 percent of total highway deaths. Motorcycle crash-related injuries also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012. That’s why it is so important to wear a helmet.

Massachusetts has a helmet law, while New Hampshire only requires people under 18 to wear a helmet. Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire require use of eye protection, except when the bike is equipped with a windscreen. The NHTSA estimates helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011.

Because vehicles are the biggest threat to motorcycle riders, during this Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, most states will step up their “Share the Road” campaigns.

Motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway. During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May – and throughout the year – drivers of all other vehicles and all road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.

One way we can decrease the number of motorcycle fatalities and injuries, is if we all work together. If everyone would adhere to the rules of the road, both motorcyclists and motorists, we will improve highway safety for everyone. motorcycle-safety-thumbnail

Drivers should:
• Be on the lookout for motorcyclists at all times;
• Signal all lane changes and turns, and constantly check mirrors and blind spots before proceeding;
• Be fully focused on the task of driving (Take the Pledge on my website not to be a distracted driver) and in control of your vehicle at all times;
• Never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Motorcycle riders should:
• Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed;
• If they choose to wear a helmet, they should wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible; and
• Never ride while impaired or distracted.

Drive safely and share the road, not just in the month of May for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month but every day. To commit to not driving distracted, join Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion in Taking the Pledge as this too will help improve the safety of our roads including our friends on motorcycles.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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