According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6 million motorcycles are registered in the U.S., which is about 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the country. However, motorcyclists are seriously injured and killed at a much higher rate than their 4-wheeled counterparts, as 11 percent of all highway deaths each year are motorcycle fatalities.
A variety of factors contribute to the high number of motorcycle crashes each year, including:
- Inexperienced riders
- Insufficient training
- Dangerous road conditions
- Low visibility to other drivers
Because motorcycles provide almost no protection in crashes, motorcyclists are more likely to be killed in accidents than drivers of other vehicles. However, motorcycle crashes can be largely prevented. Take the following safety precautions to help you have a better, safer ride:
- Attend a motorcycle training class to learn safe riding techniques and behind-the-wheel skills.
- Use a motorcycle that fits your size. Make sure you can comfortably reach all controls and that both feet touch the ground when sitting on the seat.
- Choose a motorcycle that matches your use. The NHTSA urges riders not to buy a trail bike for highway use or a highway motorcycle for off-road use.
- Practice riding in an empty parking lot to gain experience in a safe environment.
- Wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Wear protective clothing, including gloves, shoes, long pants, long sleeves and eye protection.
- Drive defensively and assume other drivers do not see you.
- Be especially careful at intersections and driveways. The NHTSA reports that about 50 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur at intersections.
If, despite your best efforts, you are injured on your motorcycle in an accident with another driver, contact an attorney with experience in motorcycle-crash cases to discuss any legal claims you may have, and to help you get the medical and rehabilitative care you need.