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Posted by Toni on Oct 28, 2017

Why are motorcycles dangerous?

Though it is a well-established fact that motorcycles are dangerous, it’s less often discussed why this is the case.

According to the U.S. government, motorcycles are 26 times more likely to end up in deadly crashes than cars.

Part of the reason for this is obvious. There is simply less protection around a motorcyclist than around someone riding in a car. While cars are designed with airbags and have steel walls on all sides, motorcycles have no such useful protections. In fact, the need to keep motorcycles light has likely led to even less protection being available than their might be.

Another obvious point is that many motorcyclists don’t wear helmets, Without helmets the head is completely exposed, meaning there’s much more opportunity for serious head injuries, which are the leading causes of death for motorcyclists.

Other points, however, are less obvious. For instance, many accidents occur because drivers of bigger vehicles are not aware of motorcyclists. Because motorcycles are quick and small, they often seem to sneak up on drivers of larger vehicles. For this reason, changing lanes, turning left, and sudden stops are all major threats for motorcyclists, where they may only lead to small collisions or nothing at all when it comes to other cars.

Another point has to do with controlling the vehicle. While cars are very heavy, motorcycles are by design quite light. That means a sudden turn is less likely to flip a car than a motorcycle since so much weight holds a car down and nothing really is keeping the motorcycle from flying off.

Finally, related to one of the points above, cars have had decades in which add-ons have been designed to improve the safety of those within the vehicle. Because motorcycles are so stripped down so they are little more than their engine, their seat, and their wheels, those additional safety measures have never been added to bikes.

All of that leads to the overall point that motorcycles are indeed quite a bit more dangerous to ride than cars are to drive. Many accidents that involve motorcycles are in fact not the fault of the biker, but that does not mean the biker doesn’t take the majority of the physical damage.

Anyone considering taking up motorcycling is encouraged to consider all of the above points and to reevaluate the decision. While motorcycles certainly do have some positive qualities and there is much to recommend them on a hypothetical level, the risks are extremely high.

If the decision is made to take up motorcycling anyone, new riders are encouraged to practice safe riding and to take as many precautions as possible, including, particularly, wearing a helmet and keeping speeds at a reasonable level. Doing these two things increase your safety immensely, though, of course, still nowhere near the level of safety found in the average car.

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