All motorists deserve to arrive at their destinations safely—including motorcyclists. Unfortunately, many motorcycle operators never get to their destinations due to the negligence of other drivers. Whether other drivers cut motorcycles off, turn left in front of bikes, or change lanes into motorcycles, the results are still the same—motorcycle crashes that produce serious injuries or fatalities.

Serious Statistics for Serious Motorcycle Crashes

According to the new fact sheet on motorcycle safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2013, motorcycle fatalities dropped 6.4 percent (from 4,986 in 2012 to 4,668 in 2013), and injuries to motorcyclists declined by 5.4 percent (from 93,000 in 2012 to 88,000 in 2013.) While this news in encouraging, there were still thousands of motorcyclists who suffered unnecessary injuries and fatalities last year.

In fact, NHSTA estimated that motorcyclists were 26 times more likely to die in traffic accidents per vehicle mile traveled than occupants in passenger cars. One particular group that has seen an increase in crash fatalities is the 40-and-older age group. According to NHTSA, fatalities for this age group increased by 39 percent from 1,854 in 2004 to 2,580 in 2013.

The new information also revealed that the average age of motorcyclists killed in traffic collisions was 38 in 2004, but was 42 in 2013. This information shows that more and more middle-aged people are riding motorcycles and need to be reminded of riding risks. Although many people over the age of 40 are experienced drivers, it is always a good idea—even for experienced drivers—to brush up on safety, including doing the following:

  • Always wear protective gear and a properly-fitting motorcycle helmet.
  • Ride alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Follow the road rules and don’t speed.
  • Be visible and ride with your headlight on.
  • Signal your intentions and don’t swerve through traffic.
  • Ride sober and be aware that certain medications can impair your reactions and judgment.

Even the safest, most experienced motorcycle rider can still be injured or killed in a crash if another driver fails to look out for a motorcycle. While motorcyclists need to ride as safely as possible and drive defensively, drivers of passenger cars and trucks also need to do their part and look out for motorcycles on the road.

If you ride motorcycles and would like to receive more news on motorcycle safety, please follow us on Twitter.