When you look at general car accident statistics, you have a high percentage of wrecks that are not very serious. That is to say, they do not result in injuries or fatalities.
That does not mean they don’t matter to the people involved, of course. They are still frightening and traumatic, and they can lead to serious repair bills and property damage. Even a fender-bender can have a drastic impact on your life. But a lot of your low-speed crashes in full-sized cars and trucks are not life-altering events. You get your car repaired and you move on with your life.
The motorcycle difference
The same thing is not true with motorcycles. Riders who stay safe, quite simply, are those who do not crash. That’s almost the only way to avoid injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in excess of 80% of the motorcycle accidents that get reported lead to either injuries or a fatality. In those cases, the person injured or killed is the motorcyclist. You do have cases where people in cars also get hurt, and very rare cases in which a driver gets injured and a motorcyclist does not, but it is clearly most common for motorcycle riders to take the brunt of the impact. In most instances, they end up in the hospital.
Why it happens
The reasons this happens are many, starting with the lack of protection offered by a bike. A car can keep someone safe with a frame, airbags and other such safety systems. A motorcycle does not. Instead, the rider’s only protection comes from the gear they wear, like a helmet. Those who opt to ride without a helmet have no protection at all.
Even the largest motorcycle is also vastly smaller than a car. In a two-vehicle crash, odds are incredibly high that, unless the rider hit another motorcycle, they were on the smallest vehicle in the wreck. That puts them in the most danger. The laws of physics simply show that smaller, lighter, faster vehicles take more damage in an impact. That’s the motorcycle every time.
Motorcycle riders need to remember that they cannot always avoid accidents. That’s usually the goal. They learn what to watch for, how to lay the bike down and how to keep from crashing. They know that, if they do crash, they’re almost certainly going to get hurt or killed.
But you are at the mercy of other drivers. They can cause accidents even when you, on your motorcycle, do everything right. If you get hit, make sure you know what rights you have to financial compensation.