May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. It is well documented that the freedom that one enjoys on a motorcycle comes with a high price. Simply stated, motorcyclists are statistically more vulnerable to crashes than other drivers. The mileage death rate for motorcycle drivers was thirty seven times higher than that of other types of vehicles, according to the National Safety Council. In 2006, about 4,035 people were killed riding motorcycles. The NHTSA investigated nearly every aspect of motorcycle crashes in Southern California, including some crashes in San Diego. Some of the findings from this investigation are as follows:
- In single vehicle motorcycle accidents, motorcycle error was the cause in approximately 2/3 of the cases.
- The most common driver error in single vehicle accidents was a slide out or fall out due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excessive speed or under cornering.
- In multi vehicle accidents, the predominant cause was the other driver violating the motorcycles riders right of way. In other words, the motorcycle rider was not the cause of the accident in the vast majority of multi vehicle accidents.
- Many of the multi vehicle motorcycle accidents were caused due to other drivers failing to detect a motorcycle rider in traffic. A large number of accidents were caused by the failure of the driver to see the rider, or seeing the rider too late to avoid an accident.
The best safety tip for a rider is to ride defensively.
- Assume the other driver doesn't see you.
- Ride nicely.
- Don't aggressively hog the road.