There are some risks involving using the roads while driving, riding a bike, or just walking. Specific modes of transportation provide limited protection in the event of a collision, which may make these risks higher for particular people. The incidence of traffic fatalities affecting people most exposed to the road (bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists) continues to rise alarmingly despite more cities implementing Vision Zero initiatives to lower serious accidents involving pedestrians.
For various reasons, many people choose bicycles and motorbikes as their primary forms of transportation. Bikes are inexpensive compared to cars, simple to store in a garage, and easy to maneuver through heavy traffic. Cycling is a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts because they believe it is more thrilling, fun, and enjoyable than operating a car or other type of transportation. They also gain from intensive exercise because cycling requires more physical effort. Since the entire body is needed to function, riding a bike improves agility. It also increases arm and hand strength.
There may be a few factors when comparing motorcycle vs. bicycle accidents that explain why motorcyclists are more likely to suffer fatal injuries. First, compared to bicycles, motorcycles move far faster. This raises the possibility of serious injury since they will use more force when contacting something. While some regions have designated bike lanes that can make motorists more cautious, motorcycles must ride through traffic, which increases the risk of collisions.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries than bicycle accidents. The number of deaths per mile traveled on motorcycles is almost eight times higher than the number of fatalities per mile traveled on bicycles. In addition, motorcyclists are more likely to be injured in accidents than bicyclists. In 2012, there were 8.4 injuries for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by motorcycles and 2.6 injuries for every 100 million VMT by bicycle.
Dangers of Riding a Bicycle or a Motorcycle
Riding a bicycle or motorcycle is a fun and healthy way to get around. However, there are some dangers that cyclists should be aware of. These dangers include the following.
Injuries From Falls
Bicycles are not as stable as cars, so riders can fall easily, especially when making sharp turns or avoiding obstacles. Falls can lead to broken bones, sprained wrists or ankles, concussions, and even death.
Injuries From Collisions With Other Vehicles
While bicycles are much smaller than cars, they still have enough mass to cause severe injuries if a collision occurs between two vehicles. This is why bicyclists must ride defensively and anticipate potential dangers rather than blindly following their instincts.
Injuries Caused by Unsafe Road Conditions
Poor road conditions like potholes can increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. Even if riders and cyclists are careful about their safety on the road, there may be hazards they don’t see coming until it’s too late. The poor conditions can cause severe injuries or even death if they go unaddressed by local authorities.
Injuries Caused by Weather Conditions
If a rider is not adequately dressed for the weather, especially in the winter, they may get hypothermia or frostbite. Additionally, the wind can cause riders to lose control of their bikes and fall, resulting in injuries. Weather conditions like fog can also make it difficult for drivers to see cyclists. A driver who does not have time to react before hitting a cyclist may be at fault for any resulting injuries and property damage.
Deaths from Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2021, 6,158 people were killed in bicycle-related accidents, and 4,869 people died in motorcycle accidents. Most of these deaths are related to head injuries. The NHTSA estimates that over 50% of all bike accident fatalities involve head injuries. In addition to head injuries, other common causes of death include broken bones, spinal cord damage, and internal bleeding.
Safety for Motorcycles and Bicycles
Motorcycles are often considered more dangerous than cars because they don’t offer much protection to riders. Bikes are involved in more deaths per vehicle miles traveled than any other vehicle on the road. On the other hand, bicycles don’t pose as much threat to drivers as motorcycles do, but they can still pose risks to pedestrians and other cyclists if they’re not used properly. Here are some safety tips for cyclists and riders.
Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet is an important safety tip for cyclists and riders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 85%. Helmets are effective at preventing head injuries and decrease the likelihood of neck injuries by 59% and lower-face injuries by 33%. This kind of protection is so powerful that the NHTSA encourages everyone who rides bicycles to wear helmets.
Riding in the Right Direction
Riding in the right direction is an issue of visibility and safety. Riders are visible to cars and other vehicles on the road when riding in the traffic flow direction. When riding against traffic, they become virtually invisible to these vehicles, which can lead to accidents.
Riding With Lights on at Night
In the dark, it can be hard to see cyclists on the road. This can make them vulnerable to being hit by other vehicles, which may cause severe injury or even death. However, cyclists can help ensure they are visible to other drivers by riding with lights on. This will help prevent accidents from occurring as well as increase their safety when riding at night.
Wearing a Reflective Vest or Jacket
The reflective vests or jackets are made of material that can be seen from a distance. It helps to increase the visibility of the cyclist or rider in dark environments. The vests or jackets are also designed to protect from extreme weather conditions such as rain, snow, and wind. They can be worn over any clothing.
A study conducted in 2014 found that about half of all significant cycling accidents were caused by speeding, and a 2015 study found that cyclists who rode faster than 20 miles per hour had an injury rate that was 4.5 times higher than those who rode at 15 miles per hour or less. Cyclists need to understand the risks of speeding to avoid them when possible and be prepared if they hit an obstacle or another cyclist at high speeds.
The dangers of riding a motorcycle and bicycle are real but can be mitigated with proper training, equipment, and safety precautions. Ultimately, it is up to each rider to decide whether the risk of riding is worth it.