Motorcycle accidents are among the deadliest on our roads. As such, it’s imperative that you make safety your top concern every time you ride. Choosing a bike that’s not only right for you but that’s also safer for you is a great place to start.
The Sobering Statistics
Before choosing your ride, carefully consider the dangers inherent to motorcycles. The Insurance Information Institute shares the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) motorcycle accident statistics based on overall miles traveled in 2015:
- Motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than car occupants to be killed in traffic accidents (40 percent of these accident victims weren’t wearing helmets).
- Motorcyclists were five times more likely to be injured in traffic accidents.
In addition to not wearing a helmet, factors that significantly increased the odds of being injured in a bike accident include being 60 or older, speeding, and riding while impaired. Riders should always remain alert and drive defensively. Be aware that many drivers simply do not see motorcycles.
If a driver who was not paying attention to motorcycles on the road caused an accident that left you injured, you need skilled legal counsel. These claims can be complicated and the process can seem overwhelming, especially when you are injured. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the determination, skill, and experience handling motorcycle accident claims to help you recover fair compensation for your injuries after an accident.
Choosing the Right Bike
Finding a bike that’s right for your skill level is an important factor to take into consideration when choosing a bike. Consumer Reports shares some tips on how to make the safest choice:
Choose a Bike You Can Handle Safely
If you’re new to riding or haven’t been on a bike in a while, you may be surprised to experience the power that new models—even those with smaller engines—can pack. The bikes of today are decidedly faster and more powerful than bikes of yesteryear. When it comes to choosing a bike that’s right for you, make sure that you’re not purchasing more bike than you can safely handle.
Fit is an important factor when choosing a motorcycle. When you’re seated atop a bike that’s a good fit, both your feet should rest comfortably flat on the ground. If you’re on your tiptoes, the bike’s too big. The handlebars and controls should be comfortably within your reach. Test drive and get a good feel for how the bikes you’re considering handle, and choose one that you can easily mount and dismount from the center stand. A good point to remember is that a bike that feels too heavy probably is too heavy.
Engine size also matters. A smaller 250-cc to 300-cc engine can be a great place to start. These bikes are convenient for commuters and easier—and thus safer—to handle. If you’re looking to rack up a lot of highway miles, however, you may want to consider a bike with an engine in the 500-cc to 750-cc range that allows you to safely keep up with highway traffic.
Choose a Bike With Antilock Brakes
Antilock brakes are available on many motorcycle models and are proven to save lives. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that the fatality rate for motorcycles that are equipped with optional antilock brakes is 31 percent lower than for the same motorcycle models that aren’t equipped with the option. The Institute explains that braking a motorcycle is more complex than braking a car. On a motorcycle, braking too hard can cause your bike’s wheels to lock up and send you into to skid. Braking inadequately is likewise obviously dangerous.
An antilock braking system allows you to apply full pressure to the brakes without risking a lockup. This safety mechanism automatically decreases pressure when a lockup is imminent and reapplies the pressure when traction is restored and it’s safe to do so.
Some Bikes Are More Dangerous Than Others
The Institute also reports that some types of motorcycles are simply more dangerous than others. So-called supersport bikes are associated with a fatality rate that’s four times that of standard motorcycles and cruisers. Supersport motorcycles mimic racing bikes, with lightweight engines and amped-up horsepower. Remember those features may make a bike more dangerous when you choose a bike that’s right for you. Stick to a model that’s built for fun and safety—not just for speed.
Getting the training that you need to operate your bike safely is perhaps even more important than choosing the right bike. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, which is sponsored by motorcycle manufacturers and distributors, partners with NHTSA, state governments, and other organizations to help improve motorcycle safety through training, education, and licensing. The emphasis of this training is riding within your skill limitations; wearing appropriate safety gear; and riding sober. While these courses focus on safety basics, they can also help you learn advanced techniques, such as how to perform emergency evasion maneuvers.
Protect Your Brain
Finally, never ride without a helmet. Helmets save lives and reduce the incidence of brain injuries. Choose a helmet that provides full protection. Consumer Reports relays that full-faced helmets approved by the Department of Transportation are the safest option.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, You Need an Experienced Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accidents are extremely dangerous and often cause serious injuries. Always be on the lookout for distracted drivers and drivers who just don’t see motorcycles. If another driver’s negligence causes a motorcycle accident and you are injured, make sure you get the right legal team on your side. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we are dedicated to helping people who have been injured in accidents recover. Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience working to help Philadelphia accident victims. We have the skill, knowledge, and commitment to fight for your rights and fair compensation. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.