It isn’t really a big surprise, but it is official knowledge by now: you’re more likely to get seriously hurt if you are involved in a road accident while on a motorbike. Study after study has shown that the extent and severity of crash injuries are greater for bikers, and the reason is almost as obvious as the conclusion. On a bike, you’re unprotected and exposed. But there’s one link that you need to draw between accident severity and motorbikes, and that’s the cost of your treatment. If you’ve been in an accident, don’t allow your window for a personal injury claim to expire before contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer for advice. You may be in for a lengthy recovery.
Few Bikes, Many Accidents, Severe Injuries, High Costs
Although we love the freedom of cruising on a bike on the open roads, we do need to be aware that it’s a risky pastime. The NSC reports that only three percent of vehicles registered in the US are bikes, and they’re responsible for only 0.6 percent of motoring miles, but bikers represent 14 percent of road accident fatalities.
Just to add to the rather ugly picture we’re painting, injury rates in accidents are higher for bikers too. If you’re in a car, you’re three times less likely to be injured in an accident than if you’re riding a motorcycle. What’s more, you’re ten times more likely to sustain a severe injury if you’re in an accident while riding a bike.
When we look at injuries both from car accidents and those involving bikes, bikers are likely to have medical costs that are at least twice as high as those motorists will pay.
Researchers Say its a Wakeup Call
Researchers examining the figures for deaths and injuries in motorcycle accidents say that their data on the mortality rate and injuries bikers sustain should act as a wake-up call. While cars have become safer over the years, and people are more protected in cars than they have ever been in the past, deaths and long-term injuries among motorcyclists remain the same and may even be on the rise. The logical solution would be to seek ways to improve safety for motorcyclists too. Knowing the financial costs, researchers hope, will add impetus to efforts aimed at a safer motoring environment for bikers.
What You Can Do to Be Safer on Your Bike
Unfortunately, there’s not much gear that offers good protection when there’s a really hard impact. Your helmet is definitely a proven form of protection against impacts – so be sure to wear one whenever you ride. But body armor and other gear have limited usefulness. Real crash tests conducted in Germany found that although gear incorporating airbags was good for reducing the effect of impacts at lower speeds, it stopped being effective at higher ones.
Gear like jackets, riding pants, boots, and gloves can help against abrasions that come from sliding along tarmac or paving, but even with armor built in, it wasn’t much use in hard impacts. Researchers concluded that at speeds over 15mph, armor in jackets and riding pants were essentially useless. Jackets with airbags worked into their design were somewhat better but ceased to be helpful at speeds exceeding 43mph.
Having said that, any protection is better than no protection. Helmet, gear and the use of high visibility clothing are a must for those who enjoy their motorcycle rides. Stick to the rules of the road, be aware of the hazards you are exposed to as a biker, and be very alert for drivers who may not have seen you. Slow down at intersections, especially if the light has just changed in your favor, and hold your lane rather than submitting to the temptation to weave through slow-moving traffic. Your ride may be rather less exciting, but you’ll be improving your chances of arriving at your destination in one piece!