Motorbikes – fast, fun, furious. To motorbike riders, two wheels are most definitely better than four, not least because when all those four-wheel cars and trucks become one long jam, the freedom of the road belongs to the bike.
Not only that but motorbikes are cheaper to run, they don’t guzzle gas and then there’s the low cost of motorcycle insurance. According to the World Journal of Emergency Surgery 2012,
“The numbers of two-wheel vehicles are growing across the world. In comparison to other vehicles, motorcycles are cheaper and thus represent a significant part of the automobile market. Both mobility and speed are attractive factors to those who want to use them for work or leisure.”
The clue that there can be a downside to motorbike riding is perhaps in the source of the last quote and this one, again from the World Journal of Emergency Surgery 2012,
“Crashes involving motorcyclists have become an important issue, especially fatal ones… In Singapore, motorcycle crashes are responsible for 54% of all deaths caused by any motor vehicle accidents.”
The phrases ‘freedom of the road’ and ‘emergency surgery’ shouldn’t have to co-exist but, when it comes to motorbikes, far too often, they do.
According to the US National Highway Safety Administration, 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for cars is about 20%. According to the inauspiciously named Hurt Report – a well known safety study commissioned by the US Government – the causes of these accidents frequently come down to dangerous riding or driving, often not covered by insurance:
“In single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of cases, with the typical error being a slide-out and fall due to over-braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
Almost half of fatal accidents show alcohol involvement, and, injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
In multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.”
Surprisingly, motorbike failure accounted for less than 3% of motorcycle accidents, and weather was not a factor in 98% of cases.
So here is the good news. The report offers significant evidence that wearing the correct gear; helmets, durable and High-Vis clothing can mitigate crash injuries substantially.
And when it comes to motorbikes, it is always better to be seen.
“The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominant cause of motorcycle accidents… accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps-on in daylight and the wearing of High Visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.”
By all means hit the road, just always remember to ride safely, that way you afford the road far less opportunity to hit back!
What do you think?