For motorcycle enthusiasts, there are just a few precious months of great weather left to head out on the road and enjoy the ride. That means that motorcycle safety is something all of us—bikers and non-bikers alike—need to continue paying attention to.
Motorcycle accidents continue to be too frequent and, when they occur, are more deadly than other types of vehicle crashes. The latest data from 2010 provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals the scope of this important safety issue on a national level:
- In 2010 alone, 4,520 motorcyclists were killed and another 82,000 were injured; 95% of the fatal crashes involved two-wheeled motorcycles
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2010
- Motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and 5 times more likely to be injured.
- The majority of fatal motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle. In 75% of these incidents, the motorcycle was struck in the front. Another common situation in the crashes involved a left-turning vehicle, while the motorcyclist was traveling straight.
- Proper licensing continues to be an issue in motorcycle accidents. 22% of riders involved in fatal crashes did not have a valid motorcycle license at the time of the collision.
- Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries and saved the lives of over 1,500 bikers in 2010. Yet helmet use is estimated to be at only 54%.
To bring these motorcycle safety numbers to the local level, in Missouri:
- 97 individuals were killed and another 2,036 were injured in motorcycle crashes in 2010. This means that a person was killed or injured in a motorcycle accident every 4.1 hours.
- In 2010 Missouri motorcycle crashes, 42.6% involved one vehicle striking another; 26.7% involved a motor vehicle overturning; and 23.4% of fatal crashes involved a motorcycle striking a fixed object.
- Of motorcyclists who were in an accidents and wore a helmet, 27.4% were killed or received a major disabling injury, versus 37.7% who were not wearing a helmet.
Given these numbers, motorcycle safety is an issue that everyone has to work towards improving. If you are a motorcyclist, then when you head out on the road, make sure that you:
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear proper gear
- Do not share a lane
- Stay sober
- Receive proper training
Even if you aren’t a motorcycle enthusiast, you have a role to play to keep our roadways safe:
- Share the road
- Be on the look-out for motorcyclists
- Allow a greater following distance than normal
- Anticipate obstacles that may be unique to motorcyclists