How Dangerous Is Motorcycling?

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How Dangerous Are Motorcycles, Really…

Perhaps you have questions you might ask yourself if you’re thinking about purchasing your first motorcycle, including: How dangerous is motorcycling, what are some motorcycle danger statistics, are motorcycles dangerous periods, and are motorcycles worth the risk? Those questions are hopefully answered below.

Are Motorcycles dangerous?

Some people will say that riding a motorcycle is too dangerous, but are motorcycles dangerous, or is the fear misplaced? The short answer is motorcycles can become dangerous under certain factors, but so is driving a car.

Some key factors to the question are motorcycles’ dangers include: dangerous weather on the road, potholes, muddles, and other road conditions, which can cause any vehicle to wreck, but because motorcycle drivers are moving at a high speed, they are especially at risk.

riding two up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered a link to other causes of motorcycle accidents, and one of the biggest problems motorcyclists run into deals with car drivers. 51 percent of collisions involve a car colliding with a motorcycle.

Age plays a role. Many would think accidents involving motorcyclists are young. However, NHTSA found 55 percent of motorcyclists who died in 2013 because of an accident were over forty.

How Dangerous is Driving a Motorcycle?

First, motorcycles are a fun source of enjoying freedom on the road. Not to mention the gas mileage is low. With the extra money you spend on filling your car, you can save that on your retirement with a motorcycle.

Another good point to owning them is that taking care of a motorcycle is cheaper and it’s easier to find parts online or in a salvage yard.

We went over some fun characteristics of motorcycles. Let’s move on to answering the question: how dangerous is driving a motorcycle? Well, driving a motorcycle requires you to pay more attention and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motorcyclists killed in 2018 was 4,985.

A decrease of close to five percent, but still the numbers don’t lie. In 2018, motorcyclists had 27 times more chances of being killed in an accident than someone who was a passenger in a car and a five times chance of being hurt.

This comes from a report of the NHTSA. So what else is behind these motorcycle danger statistics? As reported by the NHTSA, alcohol played a part in one out of three motorcycle accidents. Many of these accidents had a 0.008 or higher level at night.

From the same agency, 33 percent of riders killed were because of speeding.
In 2019, cars made up 279.6 million vehicles in the US, and 13 cars out of 100,000 were responsible for fatal accidents. Compare that to 72 out of 100,000 motorcycles for fatal accidents.

Unlike cars, motorcycles don’t have protection surrounding them. The risk for riders includes concussion, brain damage, tissue damage from being thrown onto a road, pelvis, joint and shoulder injuries, nerve damage, and facial disfigurement.

Intersections are another danger factor for motorcycles. Many people who ride motorcycles are careful. They’re even more careful than those who drive cars as drivers of a vehicle sometimes pay more attention to his or her text message than the road.

women ride motorcycles too

Motorcycle Danger Statistics

Fact 1. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, only 3.73% of women in 2017 who owned a motorcycle died in crashes, which means the majority who died in motorcycle accidents were men. 2013 had 27 percent of those involving motorcycle riders with a blood alcohol range above 0.008.

Fact 2. Wearing a helmet saved 1,859 lives in 2016.

Fact 3. Over fourteen thousand motorcyclists between 2008 to 2010 were not wearing a helmet.

Fact 4. Did you know that most motorcyclists’ deaths in 2017 occurred around May-September? This fact about motorcycle danger statistics comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Fact 5. The insurance institute for Highway Safety did a study and found that more women died as passengers on a bike than when they were driving.

Fact 6. The Marine Corps Safety and Force Preservation found in their study that wearing motorcycle boots decrease the chances of having an open wound injury by a whopping 90 percent and the risk of foot injury by 45 percent.

Fact 7. In 2017, out of the 33% of motorcycle drivers who died were driving a motorcycle with an engine size larger than 1400 cc compared to the 9% in 2000.

Fact 8. Women now makeup over 20 percent of motorcycle drivers and are set to increase to 25 percent. One out of five bikers is a woman according to a study done by the Motorcycle Industry Council in 2018.

Fact 9. In 2016, the survey by MIC found that an average of 34% of women riders would rather use a cruiser with scooters coming in a close second at 33%. Only 10% preferred riding sports bikes.

Fact 10. A little over sixty-five percent of motorcycle riders use a helmet in 2017. The good news is that number has increased from 2002 when it was only 57.7.

With all the statistics, you may wonder: are motorcycles worth the risk? Only you can answer that question, but knowing the facts may at least help guide your decision. There are many benefits of riding a motorcycle. As mentioned earlier, it provides freedom, but it also brings kindred spirits together.

Are motorcycles worth the risk?

Again, the answer is it up to you. Many bikers feel riding a motorcycle is something in their blood. These individuals spend their time and money fixing and taking care of their motorcycle. Here are some reasons they might think it’s worth the risk.

Speed. Riders like the thrill of speeding down the road, and it gives them a sense of freedom that some don’t find inside a car.

Friendships are made all the time with other riders.

You look cool riding on one.

looking cool biker

You get to your destination quicker. A good motorcycle that saves on fuel means fewer stops at the pump and a longer ride. Motorcycles also have an easier time maneuvering between spaces, especially in states that allow you to ride between them.

You’re saving the planet. Okay, you may not think about this one much, but did you know cars produce over 5.43 gigatons of carbon dioxide? When you ride your motorcycle to work, your motorcycle produces none.

Motorcycles can help you lose a few pounds. A low-impact workout, riders get the benefit of dropping calories without having to do any jogging. I’m still not sure about this one though!

Brain Power. Riding your motorcycle increases cognitive function to about as much as 50 percent, according to a study by Ryuta Kawashima. He also said, riding a motorcycle will not only make you smarter but prevent the triggers of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

You get to meet new people.

Stress Reducer. Riding a motorcycle is great for stress and anxiety problems. Imagine being cooped up in your 9 to 5 job and getting on your motorcycle after work. The adrenaline and release hormone puts you in a better mood. Your heart pumps faster, your adrenaline rate goes up, and your cortisol level goes down. This information comes from a study by Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Motorcycles maintain a good value. Your car’s value decreases from at least 20 percent in the first year. By the second year, your car value drops from an average of 15 to 18 percent. The value of a motorcycle loss is less than that of a car.

Restoration doesn’t cost you your shirt. There are plenty of old bikes that require not much to have them purring like new. You would have to pay more to restore that old car of the same age. The paint job alone could cost you anything from a grand and up. Restoration of an old car could run as much as 60,000 dollars. In some states, you can buy a small home with that amount of money.

Hopefully, this article will help you decide on the question: are motorcycles dangerous and others? While the chances of having an accident on your bike are greater than in a car, knowing the dangers and preparing will cut that risk.

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Hey y’all! It’s Chase Manhattan, a life-long gearhead, tinkerer, and adrenaline junky. I like to write about all things technical in the Harley Davidson and motorcycling space.