Motorcycle Accidents: Knowing The Facts And Taking Precaution

From Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones, to Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, there has always been a certain culture, image or mystique surrounding motorcycles. Ask any motorcycle rider what they love about riding and you will get answers like: I love the wind in my face, there’s nothing like the feeling of freedom on the open road, it’s the best way to see the country, the power and sense of speed is exhilarating, it’s fun and it’s an adrenaline rush. Some may even say, “It’s the risk and danger of it.”

Whether riding a tricked out Harley, a classic Indian or just a daily commuter, there is just something about cruising down the highway or zipping through town on a motorcycle. In today’s economy of high gas prices, they can offer an affordable alternative when filling up at the pump. But there is also another side to motorcycles: accidents.

There is a saying among motorcyclists: “If you ride long enough, it’s not if you’re going to have an accident, it’s when”. And when those accidents happen they are far more likely to cause severe injury or death. Statistics show that on a per-mile driven basis, there are 35 times more deaths among motorcycle riders than automobile drivers. In Emergency Rooms, a dark term for motorcycles is donor cycles. That’s a pretty alarming and the statistics bear closer examination, so let’s break it down.

  • 56% of motorcycle deaths involve collisions with other vehicles
  • 78% of those deaths are from head-on collisions with automobiles or trucks
  • 25% of motorcycle deaths involve hitting a fixed object
  • 75% of motorcycle accidents involve the rider not properly negotiating a curve
  • Half of all motorcycle accidents involve speed and/or alcohol

Here’s one more statistic that may not be so surprising. “Super sport” motorcycles – the high powered machines that are built on a lightweight racing frame modified for street use – have a four times higher death rate than conventional motorcycles. These bikes can reach speeds of over 160 miles per hour and are most often driven by male riders under thirty years of age. Insane speed, plus testosterone, plus youthful, poor judgment can be a lethal combination.

Yes those are sobering statistics, but it doesn’t mean anyone who owns a motorcycle should put it up for sale immediately or send it off the salvage yard to be crushed. There are ways to reduce the risk of becoming a statistic and continue to enjoy your two-wheeled fun machine. It just involves taking a few precautions and using a healthy dose of common sense.

First and foremost, protect yourself.

  • Always wear an approved helmet – no exceptions! 37% of riders who died when not wearing a helmet would have probably survived had they worn one.
  • Wear eye protection: face shield, goggles or sun glasses
  • Wear protective clothing: full finger gloves, long pants, boots, and motorcycle jackets made of leather or other protective material. Some jackets have built-in padding and even body armor.
  • Wear bright colors, even if it’s just your helmet
  • Maintain your bike
  • Be aware of road hazards like pot holes, loose gravel, wet pavement and animals
  • Take a safety class

Second, don’t just pay attention. Be vigilant! Not everyone on the road is motorcycle conscious and not everyone out there is motorcycle friendly. Drive defensively and never assume other drivers notice or even see you. Remember, the widest part of you and your motorcycle is probably the handlebars. The most common comment made by drivers after a collision with a motorcycle is, “I didn’t see it.”

Finally, and it should go without saying, never ever ride after you’ve been drinking. Even a small lapse in reaction time or judgment can be disastrous – even fatal.

Motorcycles can be dangerous and are by design not as safe as being inside an automobile. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a fun way to get around. Know the risks, protect yourself and always be alert and watchful. Like Steppenwolf song said, “Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway!” And always, be careful out there.

How to Examine Used Cars for Sale

There are many benefits to purchasing one of the many used cars for sale. Not only do you bypass the issue of how quickly brand new cars depreciate but you also save money. In fact, you save money not only in the purchasing of the vehicle but also in repairs. A new automobile will always need work as it is driven and begins to accumulate miles, while a previously owned one has already been driven enough to get the bugs out, metaphorically speaking. Of course, all vehicles need work at some point, but a previously owned one has at least already gone through the initial wear and tear. There is also a wider selection and you can save money on insurance, too.

One of the first things to do when considering a previously owned car is to get a Carfax. All you need is the vehicle identification number (VIN), which is located on the bottom of the windshield on the driver’s side or on the driver’s side door. Purchasing the Carfax is well worth it because it gives you a history including any accidents.

In fact, when you inspect a vehicle, one of the first things to check is the frame. Look underneath and check the frame for rust. You can also check the body for a recent paint job that might point to major repairs or body work. If you suspect there has been work done, lightly tap the repainted area to see if there is a change in the sound. When there is a change in the sound of the metal it points to patch work, which points to an accident. Checking the tires for even wear is another important part of the initial inspection. When tires are worn unevenly it is a sign that something is wrong with either the wheels or the suspension.

When you check the interior, you’re looking for more than visual appeal. Check the odometer. If the miles are low but the car shows significant wear, it could be a sign that something is going on. Look for water damage and smell for mold or mildew inside the car. Don’t forget to check the trunk, too. Lift the carpet and check for signs of leaks or serious rust.

Make sure you test drive the used cars you are interested in too. Check the appearance and amount of the various fluids and examine the engine for wear and tear. Try out all the controls, lock, and windows on very door. Don’t forget to go over bumps to check the shocks and to check the alignment be lifting your hands from the steering wheel for a moment to see if the vehicle pulls to one side. Any unusual rattles, groans, or grinding noises are bad signs.

Having used cars for sale inspected by ASE certified mechanics is a good idea. When you find the right one, you should know its Blue Book value and get a fair price. Used cars for sale are plentiful, but not all are good quality. Take your time finding the right one and you’ll have a good automobile for years to come.