According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, August is the most dangerous month to be on the road. Most car accident fatalities occur in August, surprisingly. January clocks in at second place, with its snow and ice, longer nights and one of the bigger drinking holidays falling on Day 1.
In this post, I want to focus on one of the most dangerous ways to travel: motorcycles. In 2013, 56 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles were involved in a crash fatality. Fatalities in passenger cars account for 9 out of every 100,000 by comparison.
Why are motorcycles so dangerous? The answer is obvious - unlike in a car or truck, motorcycle drivers are not protected by a steel cage and other safety features. And yet, they travel at the same rates of speed as cars and trucks. I know how exhilerating it must feel to ride the curves of Chuckanut Drive without a helmet but that is an incredibly dangerous choice some make. Below are some tips to have a safer trip so that you may ride again.
- Select the bike that fits you. Modern motorcycles can be powerful, fast, and/or really heavy. Don't buy something that you can't ride safely.
- Choose a model with ABS. According to an article in Consumer Reports on motorcycle safety, "IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it."
- Know how to ride. Take a class, go beyond the minimum that it takes to secure the right license. It could save your life.
- Wear the right gear. There's a reason the stereotypical motorcyclist wears leather. Tougher clothing protects you better from road rash than a pair of shorts in the event of a slide. Also, make sure to wear bright colors. Many drivers who hit a motorcyclist say they didn't see them.
- Avoid bad weather. Wet roads, windy days, or poor visibility are dangerous conditions. For example, did you know that the most dangerous time to drive during rain is soon after it starts? Oil beads up and sits on top of the water then.
- Watch for road hazards. Be extra vigilant and drive defensively. It won't matter to you or your loved ones whose fault it is if you are dead.
- Keep your bike in good mechanical order.
- Last but not least, always wear a helmet, and make sure passengers have one too.
If you are in a motorcycle accident and need help with your claim, call me. I can help you navigate the complexities of the claims process and take your case all the way to court if insurers try to settle for less than your claim is worth. Find more about safe motorcycling here.