Motorcycle Safety: Ensuring a Safe Journey
Maybe it's the freedom of the road, or the price of gas. Whatever the reason, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) tell us that motorcycles have never been more popular. With more motorcycles on the road today, HLDI has reported an alarming increase in motorcycle crashes. In 2011 more than twice as many riders were killed than in 1997 due to motorcycle accidents.
Why are motorcycles so much more dangerous than passenger vehicles?
For starters, they aren’t as easy to see on the road by other drivers, making them far more vulnerable. Motorcycles are also less stable than passenger vehicles when braking or swerving during an emergency. When motorcyclists crash, there's no giant steel cage to protect them like with a car, so they are much more likely to be injured or killed in an accident.
So how do you, as a motorcyclist, stay a little safer on the road? Here are four suggestions:
1. Watch your speed
In 2011, the IIHS and HDLI note that 48% of the nearly 2,000 motorcycle drivers killed in single-vehicle crashes were speeding. Somewhat predictably, speeding was a factor in 60% of 2011's super sport riders' fatal crashes.
2. Have a beer some other time
The IIHS and HDLI say that in 2011, 42 percent of motorcycle drivers killed in single-vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
3. Go for the anti-lock brake system (ABS)
A standard in passenger vehicles, advanced brake systems like antilock brakes and combined braking systems, can shorten stopping distance and improve motorcycle stability when you have to brake hard. In fact, the IIHS and HLDI research concludes that the rate of fatal crashes per 10,000 registered vehicles is over 35% lower for motorcycles with antilock brakes than for those same motorcycle models without ABS. Researchers even stated that regardless of crash severity, the frequency with which collision claims were filed was almost 25 percent lower for models with ABS.
4. Opt for traction control
It's not always available on most models, but when given the option, take it. A traction control feature can prevent the bike's rear wheel from slipping if you give it too much throttle.
And remember to wear a helmet and require one for anyone enjoying the ride with you.
Your local Shelter agent can share insurance coverage options with you too, so don't forget to call. It's your journey — so make it a safe one!