Motorcycles are exhilarating. They give you a sense of freedom that you simply cannot experience in an enclosed vehicle. They can help you make a strong impression on others and can enhance how people perceive you. Motorcycles are also more cost-effective because they are less expensive than larger vehicles and they are more fuel-efficient.
Unfortunately, all of those benefits come with a noteworthy downside. According to data provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle riders are at far higher risk for a fatal crash than anyone driving an enclosed vehicle. When you look at the overall number of miles traveled versus the number of deaths that occur, motorcycle riders have 27 times the number of deaths reported when compared with the occupants of bigger vehicles.
What are the two main causes for that higher risk of dying?
Motorcycles don’t protect you in the event of a crash
Vehicles don’t just transport you. They also have design features intended to reduce your risk of severe injury or death. Cars, trucks and SUVs have airbags and restraints to protect you during a wreck. The structure of the vehicle itself will also do a lot to absorb the force of the collision and protect your body.
Motorcycles do offer some degree of protection. The bulk of the structure can help absorb some of the force generated in a collision. However, your motorcycle will weigh far less than even the smallest enclosed vehicle during a crash. It won’t necessarily protect you from the impact, especially if you get thrown from your motorcycle.
People in bigger vehicles fail to notice motorcycles
Some crashes involving motorcycles are the fault of the person on the motorcycle, but many of them are caused by the people in the bigger vehicles involved. Driving is a taxing activity for the human brain, and it has to prioritize a lot of information at once.
Motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles, so the human brain may not pay attention to them when in traffic because they pose less of a threat than other vehicles. Drivers can look right at a motorcycle and fail to realize that it is there, which causes a significant number of collisions.
Recognizing the risk factors that contribute to the danger you face on a motorcycle can help you make better choices and stick up for yourself if you do get hurt in a crash on your motorcycle.