Whether one loves them or hates them, motorcycles present a high fatality risk to riders. Not only does a motorcycle lack the protective features that a motor vehicle has, but some riders lack experience and others practice risky behaviors. These all add up to serious and fatal motorcycle wrecks.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, serious injury or death occurs in more than 80% of motorcycle wrecks. The NHTSA outlines why riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than another vehicle. A motorcycle does not have safety features such as airbags or seat belts.
It also leaves the rider open to the elements due to its lack of a roof and doors. Many wrecks involve the ejection of the rider, causing him or her to strike the ground and possibly other objects with considerable force. A motorcycle is also harder to see because of its compact size.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, certain motorcycles, such as the supersport ones, pose a much higher risk of death because they are built for speed and tend to be the motorcycle of choice for younger riders. Along with the anatomy of a motorcycle, the behaviors of the driver are also factors in high fatality rates, as most fatal wrecks involve speeding and/or alcohol use.
Wearing a helmet is one of the most effective ways motorcycle riders can reduce serious and fatal injuries. However, not all states implement universal helmet laws, so it is up to the individual rider to wear one. Other effective strategies for reducing wrecks and injuries are safety training courses and antilock braking systems.