Accidents can happen at any time, and to anyone. While it has been established that accidents involving motorcycles do not necessarily come about more frequently than those that involve four-wheeled vehicles, there is a higher probability that such occurrences will result in serious or even fatal injuries. Two studies, namely the Hurt report of the United States and the MAIDS report ( Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study ) of Europe, point out some of the more common reasons for motorcycle accidents. Here are some of them:
- Another vehicle – One of the main reasons why motorcycles crash is due to other vehicles or cars. In half of the cases where this is what happened, the driver of the other vehicle is at fault, with most of them stating that they failed to see the motorbike. The other half of such collisions is blamed on the motorcyclist, and for a number of other reasons (which we will include in this list). It is interesting to note that drivers who are also motorcycle riders, or have experience with motorcycles, tend to see and avoid riders better when compared with drivers who have no motorcycling background.
- Rider inattention – Another common reason why motorcyclists find themselves in accidents is plain inattention. This brings about crashes into curbs, spills into roads, and collisions into roadside barriers that they failed to see because of carelessness or lack of concentration.
- Losing control of the motorcycle – Sometimes, it is not the rider’s fault but that of the machine he is on, or the conditions the motorcyclist is riding in. Wet roads, a ball unexpectedly rolling into the motorcycle’s path, the brakes failing out of the blue, tires suddenly going flat – these are some of the unexpected circumstances that may make a person lose control of their motorcycle.
- Drinking and riding – Many accidents occur because of riders getting behind the handlebars of their motorcycles while intoxicated. Out of 100 motorcycle accidents, 95 are said to have been due to the influence of alcohol. This is a staggering number, and shows that a lot of accidents do occur because of drinking and riding.
- Lack of Proper Rider Skills – Riders who underwent rider training are less likely to find themselves in accidents since they usually know how to avoid certain obstacles that appear in their paths. Incidentally, those who take up rider training are the ones who are licensed, which generally means that untrained riders are the unlicensed ones. Some studies show that more rider accidents happen to those who do not have a license to ride a motorcycle than those who do carry motorcycling licences.
- Lack of Experience – People who have been riding motorbikes for years are less prone to finding themselves in an accident than those who have just started riding.
- New Motorcycle – When you are not yet that familiar with the handling of the motorcycle you are riding, there is an increased chance that you will figure in an accident. This does not mean however that you should not get yourself a new bike. Simply get yourself accustomed to the new ride before you decide to open up the throttle and to go at higher speeds.
- Unforeseen threats – A rock that is on the road, an unexpected pothole, gravel on a usually clear stretch of road, and an animal suddenly crossing may bring about motorcycle accidents. Unmarked or unlit barriers at night, oil slicks, a car abruptly stopping in front of you, and many other similar incidents can also bring about motorcycle mishaps.
Of course, there are other reasons why motorcycle accidents happen. These are just some of the more prevalent ones. While preventing accidents is what you should be aiming for, there will be times when an accident is unavoidable and the situation is out of your control. In these instances, being safe is your only recourse, and to ensure your safety in spite of the situation, protective gear should be worn.
Protective Gear You Need to Wear as a Rider
Your protective gear, or lack thereof, can actually spell the difference between a serious accident and one that gives you only minor bumps and bruises. Not wearing protective clothing made specifically for motorcyclists can open you up to more serious injuries, should you inadvertently find yourself in an accident. Also called PPE, or personal protective equipment, each rider should always be outfitted in these when they are on the road.
The protective clothing that you need as a motorcyclist include specially made leather jackets, and motorcycling pants. If you do not want to wear leather jackets when you ride, you can always opt for textile jackets that are made with highly durable fabrics like Cordura and Kevlar, which also come in designs that are made specifically for riders and their protection. These come with padded shoulders, elbows, and torso (usually where the kidneys are located). These can also come with additional armour for added protection.
Other protective gear you need to wear when riding include those that are made to protect your head ( helmets), your hands (riding gloves ), and your feet (motorcycle boots). These can all come in various designs, and the choice is always dependent on the person’s preference. For utmost safety, it is advised however that for helmets, you should choose full-face options; for boots, opt for those that have added toe and ankle protection; and for your hands, choose gloves that come with wrist and knuckle protection. In addition, for the gloves, you can find fingered and fingerless options, both with the much needed padded areas for motorcycling.
Also part of the options you have for protective gear for riding are motorcycle vests , rider pants, and goggles. The first two usually come in bright colours to make the rider more visible to others, and the latter is often used when a full-face helmet does not come with a visor.Although vests can come in darker, less visible colours, riders can actually customize these with strap-on LED lights, colourful bolo cords , and reflective strips to make them easy to spot.
While there is no guarantee that accidents won’t happen, you can reduce your chances of being in one by avoiding the many causes that bring these about. You can also safeguard your health with the use of the proper gear needed for safe motorcycling. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and to be safe on your ride is to wear the protective gear made specifically for it.