My first job was working as a helper with a tow truck driver outside of Chicago. One of our first calls was an fatal accident where a sport bike hit a tree at a high rate of speed. The motorcycle driver’s necklace was stuck in the tree. I will never forget that. My experience taught me that your body is really exposed on a bike. This aspect makes bike safety super important.
Baird Morgan, CEO AmeriAgency Inc.
Less than half the states in the country require that motorcycle drivers wear helmets. This might lead some to believe that it means there are few to no motorcycle accidents on the roads but unfortunately, that is not the case. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), there were 5,290 motorcycle related deaths in 2008, which is the largest number of motorcycle deaths reported by the Department of Transportation since they began collecting data in 1975.
It is impossible to know how many of these deaths might have been avoided if the motorcycle rider had been wearing a helmet. What we do know, however, is that motorcycle accident fatalities in general are on the rise. In fact, the I.I.I. reports that motorcycle crash fatalities have increased every year over the past eleven years.
The most interesting statistics regarding motorcycle accidents and fatalities are found at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. In 2007 they report that motorcyclists were 37 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger car occupants and that they were nine times more likely to be injured than their passenger car equivalents. Those statistics may be frightening, but the next one is downright chilling: in 2008 the fatality rate for motorcyclists was 6 times that of passenger car occupants.
Insurance on your motorcycle will make your family financially whole after a crash, but it won’t make your family emotionally whole if you are hurt or killed during the crash. The best way to keep yourself safe and a functional part of your family is to wear a helmet. Another way to improve your motorcycle driving skills and reduce your premium is to take a motorcycle safety class. In addition, you should be sure to follow all driving rules and speed limits while you drive. As an example of the importance of following speed limits, let’s look at another statistic from NHTSA: 35 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2008 were speeding. If those riders had been paying attention and following the speed limit, 100 percent of those crashes could have been avoided—and so could the resulting fatalities.
Whether they reduce your premium significantly or not, all the preventative measures you take when driving a motorcycle or preparing to drive one, will help you prevent injuring yourself or others in an accident and will help make sure your family gets to keep its most treasured asset—you.