Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation in the United States, with more than four million motorcycles registered. Low initial costs, pleasurable use, and good fuel efficiency all contribute to the popularity of motorcycles. But motorcycle safety issues abound since riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than riding in a car as motorcycles do not provide much protection in the event of a crash.
The Oklahoma motorcycle accident attorneys at McIntyre Law see far too many accidents involving motorcycles. Nationwide, motorcycle accident fatalities are on the rise. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), motorcycle accident fatalities increased in 2010 to 4,502, up from 4,469 in 2009. Along with motorcycle accident fatalities, medium and heavy truck and bus fatalities also increased from 2009 to 2010. Medium and heavy truck fatalities increased from 499 to 529 while bus fatalities increased from 26 to 44.
While motorcycle, medium and heavy truck, and bus fatalities increased from 2009 to 2010, overall transportation fatalities have decreased. From 2009 to 2010, overall accident fatalities in passenger cars, vans, and light trucks decreased from 33,883 to 32,885. This data is encouraging, but the roads should still be much safer.
Motorcycle riding is much more dangerous than riding in a car because of the lack of protection from a crash that a motorcycle provides. A car has more weight and bulk, door beams, a roof, cushioning, and airbags that provide protection during a crash. Cars also have windshield washers and wipers to help with visibility. Cars are also more stable with four wheels instead of just two.
In an effort to increase motorcycle safety, two companies—Dainese and Alpinestars—have developed wearable air bags for motorcycle riders. They look like regular jackets, but can inflate within seconds to provide motorcycle riders protection in a crash. In one of the models, a tether has to be connected to the motorcycle, while the other model uses internal sensors to detect impact.
Both of these models cost thousands of dollars and are not yet available in the United States. But once more testing is done on these jackets and they become more widely available, the cost will go down. Although these wearable airbags are still being developed, they could dramatically reduce the number injuries and deaths from motorcycle accidents.