There haven’t been very many motorcycle crash-related studies over the years but those that have been done offer some insight into how to stay safe while on the road.
Here’s a look at 10 ways you can help ensure a safe ride.
1. Be careful at intersections. We know intuitively that intersections are dangerous. Crash studies back that up, with most motorcycle crashes happening at intersections.
2. Watch out for careless drivers. In crashes involving a traffic control, such as a traffic light or stop sign, other road users are more likely to have caused a crash than motorcyclists.
3. Scan for danger ahead. About 90 percent of the other vehicles involved in crashes are in front of the motorcyclist between the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions just before the crash. It is rare for a motorcyclist to get rear-ended.
4. Crashes happen at any speed. About half of motorcycle crashes happen at speeds of 30 mph or slower.
5. Operators, not vehicles, cause crashes. In almost all crashes investigated, there were no mechanical problems with the motorcycle or other vehicles involved prior to the crash. In nearly every case, actions by a driver or rider caused the crash.
6. Car drivers don’t see riders but motorcyclists do. Car and truck drivers who hold also hold motorcycle licenses are much less likely to be involved in a crash with a motorcycle.
7. Bigger doesn’t mean more dangerous. There is no relationship between the size of a motorcycle’s engine and its chance of being in a crash.
8. We need to improve our evasive maneuvers. About a third of riders lost control of their bikes when trying to avoid a crash, and another quarter did nothing at all to try to avoid a crash. More than half the riders involved in crashes, however, did brake or swerve.
9. Experience matters. The longer you have been riding, the less likely you are to get in a crash. Those in the most danger are 18 to 25 years old.
10. Helmets help reduce injuries. Most riders in crashes are wearing helmets and those helmets help prevent or reduce head injuries. Injuries most commonly occur to lower extremities followed by upper extremities.