Overall motorcycle injuries and deaths declined slightly in 2013 and 2014. But, fatal accidents among older riders continue to rise. Riders 50 and older accounted for 3 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 1982, 13 percent in 1997 and 36 percent in 2014, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Aside from the inherent dangers of motorcycling, riding without a helmet, while intoxicated or speeding are often cited as contributing factors.
Common sense tells us that motorcycles are less visible on the road and require more mental and physical skill to safely operate; and, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to bad weather and hazardous road conditions.
Preventing Motorcycle Accidents – Tips for Riders and Drivers
To help combat the growing safety issues with motorcycles, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has set out to improve safety through education, training and licensing. Since 1974, over 7.5 million motorcyclists have taken MSF training courses.
Consider the following tips for riders and drivers to help prevent motorcycle accidents.
- Be Properly Trained and Licensed – Half of all riders have never taken a proper safety class. If you take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course, some states will waive the written portion of the motorcycle endorsement test.
- Wear a Helmet – The facts are irrefutable: Helmets prevent fatalities an estimated 37 percent of the time for motorcycle drivers, and 41 percent of the time for passengers in motorcycle accidents, according to the NHTSA. And aside from being smart, wearing a helmet the law in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
- Fool’s Gear, Cool Gear – What you wear can make it easier for drivers to see you and better protect you in a crash.
- Never Drink and Drive – In 2013, 28 percent of cycling fatalities involved riders who were legally intoxicated.
- Ride Within Your Skill Limits and Obey Traffic Laws – Don’t ride faster or farther than your abilities will allow.
- Be a Lifelong Learner – Take advanced courses to brush up on the basics and keep improving your skills.
- Watch for Motorcyclists – Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and often harder to see. In 42 percent of the fatal motorcycle accidents reported in 2013, a vehicle made a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Focus on Driving – Motorcyclists are easy to miss even when you are paying attention. Studies show that distracted drivers simply don’t see certain objects like signs, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Hang up the cell phone or mobile device.
- Give Motorcyclists Enough Room – Maintain a safe distance between your car and a motorcycle and don’t change lanes too close. What would be a minor fender bender between two cars could easily be fatal to a motorcyclist.
- Use Your Turn Signals – For everyone’s safety, use your turn signals. It is also the law.
Keep Trash in the Car – Road debris can kill a rider. And don’t throw cigarette butts out of your car, either.