Despite growing awareness of motorcycle accidents and the strategies that could reduce fatalities, recent statistics reveal troubling trends. Looking at 2021, the latest statistics available, more than 6,000 motorcyclists lost their lives on roads throughout the United States.
Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles lack the steel enclosure that can reduce injuries or deaths to drivers and passengers. A certain level of risk is involved with two-wheel transports. However, traveling the wide-open road on a motorcycle is enticing, if not a sense of freedom.
However, dangers are around every corner, particularly when motor vehicle drivers claim to “not see” motorcycles. For years, various initiatives proposed could have potentially kept cyclists safer. Advocates continue to push the following measures:
- Universal mandatory helmet laws –Modern helmets are more cutting-edge than their older counterparts. Improved designs have decreased potential fatalities by 40 percent and the possibility of traumatic brain injury by approximately 66 percent. While unpopular for many in the motorcycle community, helmets can provide protection in the event of a crash.
- Antilock braking systems (ABS) for new motorcycles –Safety starts with reducing crashes in the form of ABS. While not 100 percent effective, the systems can reduce the severity of accidents with bikers braking harder while avoiding falls. Progress is promising, with two-thirds of this year’s models with ABS.
- Crash avoidance systems detecting motorcyclists –While controlling car and truck driver behavior is impossible, crash avoidance technologies in these vehicles should account for motorcycles. The “oversight” requires immediate action to ensure that bikes are “seen,” particularly during left turns that often injure motorcyclists.
For many drivers, “seeing” a motorcycle presents challenges, whether they are under the influence, sleep-deprived, or distracted by technology. Implementing more technology and raising awareness can save the lives of everyone involved in a tragic accident.