There are more than 4 million motorcycles registered in US. The popularity of this mode of transportation is attributed to the low preliminary cost of a bike, its use as a bliss vehicle and for some models, the good fuel efficiency. Motorcycle fatalities represent approximately five percent of all highway sufferers each year, yet bikes represent just two percent of registered vehicles in US. One of the main reasons bikers are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no fortification in a crash.
Motorcycles have a far higher accident rate per unit of distance traveled when compared to automobiles. According to 2005 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4008 motorcycle occupants were killed on United States roads in 2004, an 8 percent increase from 2003. Approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; an analogous figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.
Riding a motorbike is becoming dicey. The figures reveal the fact that fatalities last year have increased by an alarming 5.4 percent over 2005 and are on an upswing for the ninth consecutive year. Deaths have increased 125 percent over 10 years, a period in which registrations rose more than 50 percent. Furthermore a rising average age of riders, more powerful engines and rescind of state laws requiring universal helmet use have been major contributors.
A bike suffers in contrast when considering vehicle distinctiveness that directly contributes to occupant safety. What a bike sacrifices in weight, bulk and other crashworthiness characteristic is somewhat offset by its agility, maneuverability, ability to stop quickly, and ability to veer off quickly when necessary.
What causes the catastrophe?
It would be dim-witted if somebody riding a bike doesn’t know the basics. The failure to appreciate the limitations and to use special precautions while riding can be fatal. The failure to employ self-protective driving techniques and the lack of specific braking as well as concerning skills can do a lot in terms of damage. A major cause of concern is the safety itself in the bikes. The bikes are now outfitted with a number of safety devices. Fuel tank mounted airbags as well as wearable jacket airbag devices change the way we think about the risks involved with motorcycles. Accidents occur within a very short time and a rider may not be able to mechanically protect him or herself when a crash takes place. This is where an airbag becomes useful and lifesaving.
Honda has recently developed a fuel tank mounted airbag for the Goldwing model that just takes 0.15 seconds to deploy. Crash sensors in the front wheel send data to the airbag electronic control unit which in turn activates the airbag inflator. Excerpting an incident from NY Times, a man was saved in a routine bike accident, purely because of the Airbag incorporation in the Honda Gold Wing.
According to the company, the accident was the first in which the air bag of a motorcycle deployed to guard a rider. At least for now, the air bag is an option only on big Gold Wing touring bikes, which nearly costs $25,000, fully equipped with features like heated handgrips and antilock brakes. Jon Row, a Honda Spokesperson accentuated that the air bag was something of a last measure in crunch times and is not intended to replace the need to wear a helmet.
Personal Protective Equipment
Commonly known as the ‘motorcycle gear’, the personal protective equipment (PPE) adds a lot to the safety in your bike. The equipment facilitates better visibility, abrasion resistance, padding and of course the weather protection. The gear includes the universal gadgets like Helmet, Gloves, Jackets, Pants, Boots, Glairs or Helmet Visor, Ear Plugs, Vests vis-a-vis.
Wearing a helmet cuts the risk of death by about 37 percent. The loopholes in the system make it more easier said than done. ‘The American Dream’ (riding bike without a helmet) sounds tricky because of factors like the increase in motorcycle sales. Its now time to wake up and realize how precious life is, when it’s about riding the wind.
Dean L. Thompson, a spokesman for the safety group, said that older riders should ‘not be in denial about their skills, which decline over time.’ Riders should know their limits, he said.
In many developed countries riders are now either required or encouraged to attend safety classes in order to obtain a separate motorcycle driving license. In US, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) provides a standardized curriculum to the states that, in turn, provides low cost safety training for new and current riders.
A motorcyclist should attend a Bike rider-training course to learn how to safely and skillfully operate a motorcycle. Biker must also be more cautious when riding in impolite weather, on slippery surfaces, or when bumping into obstructions on the roadway. Just about half of all fatal single-vehicle bike crashes involve alcohol. The safe operation of a motorcycle requires more skill and co-ordination to operate than a car.
The bottom-line is that a lot depends on you as a biker. It is you who has to amplify a routine of gearing up fully equipped when riding a bike. Not everybody is privileged of possessing a $25000 safety bike a few even ride some strange machines with nothing but Indian engines and airbags would mean zilch to those riders ; it is you and only you to decide your fate. Some legitimate riding and a bit of common sense could save many lives.