Motorcycle ownership has become more common in recent decades. According to a 2022 report from the Illinois Secretary of State, there are over 315,000 registered motorcycles in the state.
While there are many times more enclosed motor vehicles than motorcycles on the roads, motorcycle riders suffer from disproportionate representation among the people severely injured or killed in collisions. In fact, researchers have found that the rate of severe motorcycle collisions has roughly doubled in the last 25 years. What factors other than an increased number of motorcycle riders have helped contribute to the rise in fatal collisions?
Worsening safety practices
In the last few years, researchers across the country have started pointing out the alarming increase in drivers making decisions that they know to be unsafe. More drivers allowed distraction and impairment to affect their ability in traffic, which often leads to increased risk for those on motorcycles. After all, drivers are already likely to overlook motorcycles in traffic, and when they have a phone in their hands or too much alcohol in their bloodstreams, they mean that much more likely to overlook a motorcycle and cause a wreck.
Increasing vehicle sizes
There has always been a spectrum of different-sized vehicles on the road. Although manufacturers have been able to produce smaller vehicles that are fuel-efficient and safe, many motorists prefer larger vehicles. The prevalence of vans, pickup trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles on the road increases the likelihood of a collision having catastrophic consequences for someone on a motorcycle. Additionally, the rise of internet commerce has led to a drastic increase in the size of many corporate delivery fleets, which means that there are often more commercial vehicles on the road as well.
Motorcycle riders can take some steps to protect themselves, including investing in enhanced insurance and better safety equipment. Many motorcyclists also employ defensive driving techniques, as they recognize that a large percentage of motorcycle collisions are the faults of others in traffic. And ultimately, understanding why it has become more dangerous to ride a motorcycle could help someone avoid contributing to grim statistics.