Seriously consider whether your teenager is responsible enough to drive a motorcycle before allowing him or her to do so. Driving a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car as it requires more agility, coordination and alertness. Driving a motorcycle can also be more dangerous than driving a car, and in a crash, motorcycles offer no protection.
Safety and comfort are the two most important things you need to consider when driving a motorcycle. A motorcycle fits correctly when the feet of the driver sitting on the motorcycle touch the ground. The controls should be easy to see and operate.
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS): Stopping a motorcycle is more complex than stopping a car. Motorcycles have separate brakes for the front and rear wheels, and braking hard can lock the wheels and cause the bike to overturn. Not braking hard enough can put the rider into harm’s way. With ABS, a rider can brake fully without fear of locking up. The system automatically reduces brake pressure when a lockup is about to occur and increases it again after traction is restored. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said in March 2010 that motorcycles with antilock brakes versus those without are 37 percent less likely to be in fatal crashes. The IIHS’s affiliate, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), found that collision claims were filed 23 percent less often for antilock-equipped motorcycles than for the same models without antilock brakes. Medical claims related to riders’ injuries were 34 percent less frequent than with bikes that did not have antilock brakes. HLDI studied ABS and non-ABS versions of 22 motorcycles from the 2003-2012 model years. In addition the 2012 analysis found that motorcyclists with antilock brakes were 30 percent less likely to have a collision claim within the first 90 days of a policy and 19 percent less likely afterward.
Training courses: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF, ), sponsored by motorcycle manufacturers and distributors, works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state governments and other organizations to improve motorcycle safety through education, training and licensing. Since 1974 about 6 million motorcyclists have taken MSF training courses. The organization also works with the states to integrate rider safety and skills in licensing tests. It also promotes safety by recommending motorcycle operators wear protective gear, especially helmets, ride sober and ride within their skill limits.
The (GAO) estimated that in 2010 motorcycle crashes cost $16 billion in direct costs such as emergency services, medical costs including rehabilitation, property damage, loss of market productivity including lost wages, loss in household productivity and insurance costs, including claims and the cost of defense attorneys. The GAO found that market productivity loss produced the largest cost, 44 percent of total costs, followed by medical costs, at 18 percent. Other costs such as long-term medical costs were not included. The GAO recommends that NHTSA grants to states for motorcycle safety, which totaled $45.9 million from fiscal years 2006 to 2012, be expanded from motorcyclist training and motorist awareness efforts to include programs that increase helmet use, safety awareness and educating police about motorcycle safety. In addition, the GAO urges NHTSA to identify research priorities, conduct research on promising strategies, implement a graduated licensing model (See Insurance Issues Updates: ) and encourage motorcyclists to improve their visibility to other motorists. The study is entitled Increasing Federal Funding Flexibility and Identifying Research Priorities Would Help Support States’ Safety Efforts.
Safety concerns weren’t the only arguments in favor of Beaudoin’s proposal. Some argued that motorcyclists with brain injuries cost society millions of dollars in medical care costs, particularly those who don’t have health insurance.
Alcohol use: According to NHTSA, in 2015, 27 percent of motorcycle riders who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or over (the national definition of drunk driving). This compares with 21 percent of passenger car drivers, 20 percent for light truck drivers involved in fatal crashes, and with 2 percent of large truck drivers.
In the United States, an increasing recognition that helmet use is associated with reductions in fatalities without apparent harm increased the implementation of universal helmet laws. In response to the 1966 Federal Highway Act, which withheld federal funds from states that did not enact a helmet law, Georgia became the first state to enact a mandatory universal motorcycle helmet law in 1967. By 1975, 47 of the 50 states had universal helmet laws. However, public and political concerns over individual rights versus public safety opened a new debate. In the following years, political changes reversed and/or limited previous sanctions and grants that encouraged states to enact universal helmet laws, which further eroded support for helmet laws. An increasing number of states either repealed their mandatory laws altogether or significantly reduced the laws to apply only to minors. At present, only 20 states have universal helmet laws, another 26 states require only partial coverage, and 4 states have no helmet laws (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire).
Speeding: In 2015, 33 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 19 percent for drivers of passenger cars, 15 percent for light truck drivers and 7 percent for large truck drivers, according to NHTSA.
There could still be improvement for the safety of motorcycles in Ohio, because Ohio doesn’t require the use of helmets when operating a motorcycle unless you are under 18 years of age or a novice rider....
But that did little to convince the 30 or so motorcyclists at Tuesday’s public hearing, many of whom argued against the proposed law on the grounds of personal freedom and that helmets don’t increase safety as much as some people claim. And many pointed out that people die by the thousands in cars, snowmobiles and ATVs, but there is no effort for a universal helmet law for any of those vehicles.
By type of motorcycle: According to a 2007 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), riders of “super sports” motorcycles have driver death rates per 10,000 registered vehicles nearly four times higher than those for drivers of other types of motorcycles. Super sports can reach speeds of up to 190 mph. The light-weight bikes, built for racing, are modified for street use and are popular with riders under the age of 30. In 2005 these bikes registered 22.5 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles, compared with 10.7 deaths for other sport models. Standards and cruisers, and touring bikes (with upright handlebars) have rates of 5.7 and 6.5, respectively, per 10,000 vehicles. In 2005 super sports accounted for 9 percent of registrations, and standards and cruisers made up 51 percent of registrations. Among fatally injured drivers, the IIHS says that drivers of super sports were the youngest—with an average age of 27. Touring motorcycle drivers were the oldest, 51 years old. Fatally injured drivers of other sports models were 34, on average; standard and cruiser drivers were 44 years old. Speeding and driver error were bigger factors in super sport and sport fatal crashes. Speed was cited in 57 percent of super sport fatal crashes in 2005 and in 46 percent for sport model riders. Speed was a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes of cruisers and standards and 22 percent of touring models.