Riding a motorcycle can be very rewarding, as both a sport and a day-to-day mode of transportation. However, this choice of vehicle comes with an increased number of risks over other transportation options. There were about 330 motorcycle fatalities in West Virginia in 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The obvious reason for this is that motorcycles are smaller and provide less protection to their riders than a car would: other drivers tend to not notice people on motorcycles, and when motorcycles are involved in accidents, the injuries sustained by the riders are typically much worse than those suffered by drivers in a car.
Who Gets Hurt
Statistics show that motorcycle riders aged 60 and older are two and a half times more likely to be involved in a motorcycle accident than riders in the 20 to 39 and 40 to 59 demographics, and that the older a rider is the more likely they are to be seriously injured in an accident.
Riders of Super Sport class motorcycles are about four times more likely to be killed in a motorcycle related accident than any other classification of motorcycle. Super Sport, or Race Replica depending on the particular manufacturers’ nomenclature, are motorcycles built on racing platforms that have been modified for street legality and have higher horsepower to weight ratios than a NASCAR stock car. In unmodified form all major manufacturers have an agreement to electronically limit performance output to 186 miles per hour, but after a five minute job of re-flashing the ECM (engine control module), one of these bikes can typically hit speeds between 190 and 220 miles per hour without other modifications. The fastest classification of street motorcycles, Hyperbikes, are even more powerful. Comparable street cars start at around a $1.5 million dollar sale price to a hyperbike’s $18,000 retail value. Most Super Sport bikes are owned by riders under 30 years old, which likely explains their high fatality rate.
Two additional behaviors that are entirely within the rider’s control play a part in many motorcycle accidents: speeding and riding while intoxicated. The NHTSA reports that close to 30% of motorcycle riders who are in a fatal crash have a blood alcohol level over the national legal level of 0.08, and 34% were speeding at the time of the accident.
There are a number of simple things a rider can do to make motorcycling safer. First and foremost is ATGATT: all the gear, all the time. While some riders dislike wearing a helmet and protective clothing, these provide the only protection a rider has in the event of an accident,and can greatly reduce the occurrence and severity of injuries in a crash. Safety gear is the difference between walking out of the hospital and a closed casket funeral. Always being aware of your surroundings, avoiding bad weather, and doing a brief check of the mechanical condition of your motorcycle beforehand every time you ride will also go a long way towards avoiding potential hazards.
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
No matter how safe and conscientious a rider you are the fact remains that more motorcycle accidents are caused by the carelessness of other drivers on the road than anything that was the rider’s fault. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys of Colombo Law to discuss your situation and learn how we can help you recover for your injuries.
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