Motorcycle Safety: Ensuring a Safe Journey
Maybe it's the freedom of the road, or the price of gas. Whatever the reason, motorcycles have never been more popular. With more motorcycles on the road today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has reported an alarming increase in motorcycle crashes. A total of 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 14 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.
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 or airbags 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
The need for speed can be deadly. It should go without saying, but speeding can lead to fatal accidents in a car or on a motorcycle.
2. Have a beer some other time
The IIHS says that in 2017, 42% 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, IIHS research concludes that the rate of fatal crashes is 31% lower for motorcycles with antilock brakes than for those same motorcycle models without 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!