One of the biggest threats to the safety of motorcyclists is other motorists. Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, they are more difficult to see. And when car and truck drivers do not take the time or make the effort to thoroughly scan the road around them, they can crash into bikers.
In the aftermath of most motor vehicle accidents, an investigation will reveal that one driver was to blame -- or more to blame. It might be a driver distracted by a phone, someone speeding down the highway or a motorist who turned into an intersection without making sure it was clear first.
Florida sees a higher rate of fatal motorcycle accidents than 44 other states in the U.S. And while preliminary data shows that there were fewer fatal accident in the state last year than there were in 2016, there are still over 500 people per year killed in motorcycle crashes.
Every person on the road is at some risk of being involved in motor vehicle accident, whether the crash is their fault or someone else's fault. But while everyone can be in danger of getting hurt, certain people are particularly vulnerable and may be more likely to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Motorcycles are exposed on the open road. That exposure is part of their appeal: it gives a chance to connect with the road around you amid the fresh air and sunshine. Unfortunately, it also means that a motorcycle accident is far more dangerous than a car accident. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle fatalities are 28 times more likely than car accident fatalities, measured by miles driven.
With Memorial Day weekend coming, we should not forget that May is motorcycle safety month. Unlike other regions of the country, Floridians can ride motorcycles nearly all year long, so drivers don’t have to get used to seeing motorcyclists. However, the dangers posed to those who drive cars are even more treacherous for motorcycle riders. After all, bikers are not protected aluminum frames like motorists.
Motorcycle riders are due for some safety upgrades. When you think about it, the motorcycle has been virtually unchanged -- from a safety standpoint -- for decades. The rider is in an inherently dangerous position that could lead to serious or even fatal injuries in an accident that would leave a passenger or driver of a car with minor injuries or no injuries at all. This is all in relation to the open nature of the vehicle. There are no doors or sides or airbags to protect the rider.
Getting into a motor vehicle accident of any kind is a scary moment in a person's life, and the results could be devastating. But if there is one vehicle out on the road that is more at risk in an accident than any other, it is the motorcycle. With few safety options and a wide open vehicle, it is only natural to expect horrific or even fatal injuries to a motorcyclist if they are involved in a crash.
In 2014, there were 4,594 people who died in motorcycle accidents in the United States. Given that number, you would naturally think that we would improve as a society with another year passing. You would think laws, car technology, and human behavior would lead to improved motorcycle safety in the following year. But unfortunately, you would be wrong. In 2015, there were 4,976 people who died in motorcycle accidents in the United States.