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Motorcyclist risks: Open vehicles result in more injuries

Motorcyclists are in danger on the roads in the United States partially because they're not as common as other vehicles. When you go out on your motorcycle, it's likely that you may see one or two other motorcyclists, but you'll see dozens of trucks and cars. The reality is that motorcycles just aren't that common.

The good news is that estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association have shown motorcyclist fatalities decreasing over time. Between 2016 ad 2017, fatalities decreased approximately 5.6 percent based on early estimates. That's an overall reduction of around 296 fatalities.

In the previous year, 5,286 people died in motorcycle crashes, a 5.1 percent increase from 2015. Despite the recent decreases, motorcycle fatalities are still at the highest level that they've been in years.

What makes riding a motorcycle so dangerous?

The primary concern is that these vehicles aren't as crash-worthy as other kinds. As a result, a crash with an open vehicle results in more extensive damage and greater injuries.

If you think about it, the risks of motorcycles make sense. A closed vehicle, like a car or truck, can take the force of an impact much better than a person's body, which is what is impacted on a motorcycle.

Additionally, seat belts and airbags help prevent serious injuries in car crashes, but motorcyclists often have few safety precautions in place. Motorcycles who wear motorcycle gear and who use a helmet are better able to take the impact in a crash, but there is still a high likelihood of a collision.

What can you do to be safer on a motorcycle?

While a majority of the crashes that happen today are a result of passenger-vehicles and truck drivers, you can still be safe on your motorcycle by taking a few precautions. Wearing your helmet, for instance, is one good way to protect your head and neck in the case of a crash. Another thing you can do is to wear appropriate motorcycle gear, such as jackets or pants, which cover your skin and prevent road rash if you're thrown from your motorcycle.

As always, mapping out your route in advance and riding during times of the day with less traffic will help you avoid a collision that could have life-shattering consequences. There's no way to prevent other drivers from making mistakes or acting negligently, but doing what you can to prepare for a crash will help.

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