Risks of the Road
The following statistics indicate the risks that motorcycle riders face and the need to protect their rights of recovery after an accident:
- Per mile traveled in 1998, motorcyclists were about 16 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die, and about 3 times as likely to be injured, than in a motor vehicle crash.
- Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.
- In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle's right of way and caused the accident.
Some of the unique problems faced by motorcycle riders on the road include:
- Road Hazards: Hazards that are minor irritations for an automobile can be a major hazard for a motorcycle rider. These include potholes, oil slicks, puddles, debris, or other objects on the roadway, ruts, uneven pavement, and railroad tracks.
- Visual Recognition: Motorcycles make smaller visual targets, which are more likely to be obscured by other vehicles or road and weather conditions. This is an issue especially at intersections, where approximately 70 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur.
- Speed "Wobble" Accidents: Especially at higher speeds, the front end of a motorcycle may become unstable and begin to shake or "wobble." This problem may be due to a misalignment of the front and rear tires of the motorcycle. If an accident is caused by such a high-speed wobble, the manufacturer of the motorcycle might be held financially responsible for any resulting injuries, under a product liability theory.
- Riding Skills & Familiarity: A motorcycle requires much more skill and physical coordination to operate than a car. Many motorcycle accidents are caused in whole or in part by a rider's lack of basic riding skills, or failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics and limitations of the motorcycle.