Riding a motorcycle can be immense fun – and something no car, not even with the top down, can mimic. You are simply much closer to the road, experience speed completely differently, and have the benefit of moving with your vehicle as opposed to sitting in one place, moving your arms and legs only.
However, all that makes riding a motorcycle so fun, make it so dangerous as well.
What do the statistics say?
Motorcyclists are 62 times more likely to suffer a fatal accident than those driving a car.
Obviously, this is due to your exposure on a motorbike – there is nothing between you and the road and traffic to shelter you when an accident does occur, while a car comes with airbags and is essentially a vesicle that can harm you, but that can also save your life.
Cars have a 238 casualty rate per billion passenger miles, as opposed to motorbikes which stand at 116.9 per billion passenger miles. Another interesting fact to note is that the rate of fatalities for pedal bikes is 35.6 per billion passenger miles.
This means more people die in cars than they do on bikes, but that is mostly due to the fact that there are many, many more cars on the road than bikes.
19% of road deaths in the UK in 2017 were motorcyclists – of which 91% were male and 30% were aged between 17 and 24.
This in particular highlights how dangerous the roads can be for young men who jump on a motorbike and don’t consider all the safety precautions, are not used to the speed a bike can reach, and are overall unprepared for the challenge.
What makes the roads so dangerous?
As we approach winter time, and as the conditions on the roads worsen, it becomes increasingly dangerous to ride a motorcycle.
The ice buildup on the roads (particularly in early mornings and at night) are one of the major threats, as two wheels are much more susceptible to slipping and sliding than four wheels. Worsened weather conditions most often also mean reduced visibility and increased accident hazards, which is made even worse by the fact that night falls much earlier, and we have limited exposure to the sun in these colder months.
However, these conditions are precisely what keeps most motorcyclists off the roads in winter, as they are aware of the conditions and their exposure to the elements while on the bike, so most of them keep their vehicles in the garage until the weather conditions improve.
This is precisely why more motorcycle accidents occur in the summertime, when the conditions are more favorable for motorbiking, and when more bikers hit the road.
What can you do to prevent an accident?
Knowing what your motorbike is capable of should be at the top of your list. You need to know exactly what each speed feels like, how fast you can accelerate and break, and know what speeds you are comfortable traveling at.
Don’t take your bike out on the road if you are not feeling well, if the weather conditions are not ideal, and needless to say, never drink and drive.
In case you do suffer a motorbike accident, make sure you file a motorbike claim to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. In the same vein, if a loved one has suffered a fatality on a motorbike, file a fatal accident claim as soon as you feel up to it.
As with any other vehicle, the most important maxim to drive by is safety first: forget about looking flashy and dangerous on the road, and enjoy the ride, rather than the adrenaline.