Motorcycles can mean different things depending on the person you ask. To some, motorcycles represent freedom, convenience, and a way to get around. For others, motorcycles represent danger and risk of harm.
Riding motorcycles is a popular mode of transportation. Many people use motorcycles for their commutes or recreation.
Unfortunately, motorcycle riders are at higher risk of severe injury and death than any other vehicle driver in a traffic accident. It begs the question: Are motorcycles worth the risk?
Why Do People Find Motorcycles Appealing?
To better decide whether a motorcycle is worth the risk, one must consider why many people choose them.
There is no question that many people find motorcycles appealing. The U.S. reports over 8.5 million registered motorcycles on the roads annually. While that number pales in comparison to the 106 million registered passenger vehicles in the country, a significant portion of the population owns a motorcycle.
Reasons a person may choose to ride a motorcycle:
- Financial reasons – Most motorcycles are far less expensive than passenger vehicles. The exception, of course, is top-end and custom-built motorcycles that can meet or exceed the cost of passenger vehicles. Most motorcycles also cost less to operate. Motorcycles are more efficient and have much better gas mileage than standard automobiles, which leads to lower routine costs.
- Convenience – Sometimes, people may want a convenient option, and a motorcycle meets those needs. Whether they have inherited a motorcycle, live in a city with limited parking, or have a short commute and feel they do not need a car, a motorcycle rider may simply choose this method of transportation because it makes life easier.
- Recreation – For some motorcycle owners, riding is something they do as a hobby or recreational activity. For example, riding in groups or solo for travel and leisure is a common driving force for many people when choosing to own a motorcycle. Not all motorcycle riders use their bike as their primary mode of transportation. In fact, many who own a motorcycle likely also own a car.
- Intrinsic benefits – One of the most personal motivations for motorcycle riding and ownership is the intrinsic value of motorcycle riding. Motorcyclists claim a sense of freedom, fun, and adrenaline that a motorcycle provides. For many, riding is an opportunity to relieve stress and partake in something purely for the sense of joy and satisfaction that it brings to them.
- Physical challenge – Riding a motorcycle takes coordination and strength. Motorcycling is physically demanding and can serve as a way to remain engaged physically in their daily lives. To operate a motorcycle, individuals must activate their muscles and focus during rides.
What Are the Most Common Risks of Motorcycling?
As part of the risk assessment of a motorcycle, consider the dangers facing motorcycle riders. There are different risks a rider can face when traveling along the neighborhood roads, interstates, and highways. There are some risks a rider can mitigate through safety equipment such as helmets, eye protection, and specialized riding attire.
In addition, a rider can ensure they follow all traffic laws and best practices when operating their motorcycle to decrease the risk of an accident. Staying alert and aware while on your bike can help you to react quickly to prevent serious injury or possibly save your life. However, some risks are simply out of a rider’s control, and it is the actions of others that can put them in peril while traveling on the road.
Risks a motorcyclist can face while riding:
- Heavy traffic – Congestion on the roads, traffic jams, and stop-and-go traffic can cause dangerous circumstances for motorcyclists. When there is nowhere to go and the traffic flow crawls, cars can begin to pop out of lanes, get onto the shoulder, and make sudden exits, which can impede a motorcycle rider’s right of way. This can injure a motorcyclist. Even a collision at a lower speed can be deadly to a rider on a motorcycle.
- Distracted drivers – Texting, phone calls, and other distractions are common on the roads. Just take a moment to look around for a few seconds the next time you are on the road. You will see multiple individuals engaged in dangerous behaviors. Distracted driving decreases the chance that a driver will realize when a motorcycle is near and can result in a motorcycle accident.
- Drunk drivers – Drivers who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol cannot operate a motor vehicle safely. This is dangerous for other drivers and motorcyclists. When a driver is under the influence, they may not have the coordination and reasoning to travel on the roads and are at a high risk of causing an accident.
- Aggressive and reckless driving – Drivers that are reckless or aggressive can cause accidents because of their sudden driving changes and abrupt moves on the road. A vehicle that weaves in and out of traffic, stops suddenly or tailgates others can contribute to an accident.
- Poor road conditions – Damage to the road such as potholes and large dips can make it difficult for a motorcycle rider to maintain control of their motorcycle. In addition, road work areas that cause traffic to merge and spread debris onto the road can also cause a motorcycle accident. Any unexpected obstacle on a roadway can cause a motorcyclist to lose traction and control.
- Hazardous weather – All vehicles are susceptible to accidents during perilous weather, but a motorcycle is at the highest risk because of the limitations in visibility bad weather creates and the slippery surfaces that can appear on the road. When wet weather, wind, or snow approaches an area, drivers must slow down and adapt their driving to meet the conditions. Unfortunately, this is not what all drivers will do. Some will continue to operate as if there is no dangerous weather which can, in turn, cause the negligent drivers or others near them to lose control and crash.
What Are the Types of Injuries That Motorcycle Riders Face in an Accident?
The risk of motorcycle riding is not only that one can die. While over 5,000 people will die in a motorcycle accident in any given year, another 80,000-plus motorcyclists will suffer debilitating injuries that can leave them disabled for the rest of their life.
Motorcycle injuries are rarely minor, and in many cases, the injured motorcyclist will require emergency medical transport, care, hospitalization, and possibly even surgery.
While you cannot predict what injuries you will suffer in a motorcycle accident if you get hit by another vehicle, the injuries listed below are common in these types of collisions:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones or dislocations
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
The Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
As you consider whether the risk of owning and riding a motorcycle is something you are willing to take on, it helps to know what damages you can seek if an accident does occur. Motorcycle collisions are not something you want to happen but they are a real risk each time a rider mounts their bike just as there is a risk each time a driver gets behind the wheel.
If you become the victim of a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of an automobile driver, you may recover damages.
- Your costs for medical care – You can recover the cost of treatment of your injuries, rehabilitation, and any long-term health challenges the accident caused.
- Your lost income – If you cannot work after a motorcycle crash, you can recover the loss of that income. For some accident victims, this can mean weeks, while for others the future is much more uncertain.
- Your pain and suffering – The suffering from an accident is not only the physical injuries you experience but also the emotional and mental trauma that an accident can cause. A claim for damages for a motorcycle accident victim may include compensation for any pain and suffering causally related to the accident.
- Your property damage – A motorcycle accident can cause the bike costly damage that requires extensive repairs. In many cases, the bike becomes a total loss. You can recover your damage to a motorcycle or any other personal property after an accident through a claim or lawsuit.
Can You Seek Compensation if You Are a Victim in a Motorcycle Crash?
You may be wondering if you happen to be in a motorcycle accident, who will pay for your injuries, losses, and other damages if the accident is not your fault? The law allows motorcycle riders–just as any automobile driver–to seek compensation from an insurer or the at-fault party directly if insurance is insufficient or unavailable.
While that might sound easy enough, motorcyclists that seek to recover their losses after a crash can face an uphill battle against the stigma and biases of other parties towards motorcyclists. If you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you and increase your chance of a successful recovery.
You have a right to compensation as a motorcycle accident victim, but that does not mean that insurance companies may not try to challenge your claim or reduce their liability to you in any way they can. Motorcycle accidents are often accompanied with extensive damage, and insurers understand how much they can be on the hook for the negligence of their drivers.
A motorcycle accident attorney can help you fight for the compensation you are legally entitled to under the law. Your attorney will first try to seek recovery of your losses through an insurance claim, and if that fails to reach a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
How Can You Decide Whether Motorcycle Riding Is Worth It for You?
Whether a motorcycle is worth it is a personal decision. You know the level of risk you are comfortable with and what actions you can take to reduce your chances of becoming involved in a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycles can be dangerous, but that does not mean they always are. With some effort and patience, you may find a way to ride as safely as possible. If you feel unsure or are uncomfortable with the increased risks of riding a motorcycle, then maybe it is just not for you.
Making a decision can be difficult, but having the best and most accurate information to guide your decision can help you feel at peace and confident in your choice, whatever that may be.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, you need the support and guidance of a motorcycle accident lawyer to fight for your rights. A motorcycle accident attorney can provide a free consultation to discuss your available legal options.