motorcycle safety tips

Is It Dangerous to Ride a Motorcycle In New York City?

Is It Dangerous to Ride a Motorcycle In New York City?

Besides being the global center of finance, culture, technology, commerce, and entertainment, New York also attracts motorcyclists. Being a global attraction, this city stays busy throughout the day. The traffic is always at its peak in New York City, making it difficult for bikers to ride safely.

Not to forget, motorcycling is a much-loved activity in the U.S. The American motorcycling culture is one of the most notable worldwide. However, the motorcycle accident and death rates in rural and urban areas in the U.S. vary greatly.

Being a highly developed urban area, New York City is not ideal for bikers to enjoy riding motorcycles safely. Continue reading this article to learn whether riding a motorcycle in New York City is dangerous.

1. Is It Dangerous to Ride a Motorcycle In New York City?

The most straightforward answer to this question is ‘Yes’. Riding a motorcycle in New York City is dangerous for various reasons. Before we learn in detail about the factors/reasons that make this city hazardous for motorcyclists, let’s discuss the motorcycle accident statistics in the region:

1.1 New York City Motorcycle Accident Statistics

  • In New York City, motorcyclists are 37% more likely to die in motorcycle accidents than car or passenger vehicle occupants.
  • On average, almost 166 riders die every year due to motorcycle accidents in New York State.
  • Compared to other cities of the state of New York, the chances of dying in a motorcycle accident are twice as high as in New York City.
  • The rate of fatal motorcycle accidents in New York City is estimated to be 89 per 100,000 registered motorcycles . Meanwhile, the deadly motorcycle accident rate in New York State is 46 per 100,000 registered motorcycles .
  • According to recent studies, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities in New York City has increased .
  • The number of motorcycle accident fatalities is estimated to have increased by 23% in recent years.
  • However, almost 28% more motorcycles were recorded as newly registered during the same period.
  • Speeding is the leading factor causing the most number of motorcycle accidents in New York City.
  • Young riders who are 20-24 years old are recorded to have the highest death rates in New York City. Meanwhile, older riders are recorded to incur the most injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident.
  • On average, more than 4,000 motorcyclists are brought to the emergency room to get treatment after the motorcycle accident.
  • According to an estimate, almost 100% of the fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents include men.
  • On average, more than 43% of motorcycle accidents occurring in New York City involve riders who are not adequately skilled and licensed.

2. The Most Common Factors Leading to More Motorcycle Accidents in New York City

The Most Common Factors Leading to More Motorcycle Accidents in New York City

2.1 Busy Roads and High Traffic Volume

As the global center, New York City is one of the busiest cities in the U.S. The roads are usually busy throughout the day. However, they are jam-packed during rush hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. It is better not to ride during rush hour.

Riders and drivers ride recklessly during rush hours because they are frustrated by crawling through traffic lines. During the peak hours in NYC, it can take hours to reach your destination.

On top of traffic, the pedestrians make the roads more populated. This makes it difficult for riders to ride safely. You must pay attention to the road users when riding in New York City, particularly during rush hour.

2.2 Speeding

As already mentioned, speeding is the leading factor causing the most motorcycle accidents in New York City. Riders must understand that the likelihood of getting killed in a motorcycle accident increases many times if you are riding in NYC.

Speed is not an option in a highly urban environment like New York City. When roads are busy, you need to apply brakes more often, and if you are speeding, you will have to go for emergency braking. This makes riding a motorcycle very risky. Always stay within the speed limit. It is preferred to ride slowly so you don’t have to apply brakes in an emergency and risk your life.

2.3 Less-Maintained Roads

Despite being the world’s center of finance and commerce, New York City doesn’t offer smooth and maintained roads to its users. Roads are less maintained in NYC, and imperfections are very common. Many road potholes demand the attention of the relevant authorities to get them fixed.

Imperfection, particularly potholes, may not be as dangerous for cars as it is for motorcyclists. Hitting a pothole can cause a motorcycle to lose control and balance completely, resulting in a motorcycle crash.

Similarly, you can observe several other road hazards, including debris and rough pavements.

2.4 Unpredictable Weather Conditions

The weather conditions in New York City are subject to constant change throughout the year. If you are planning to ride a motorcycle regularly throughout the year with the same equipment and technique, New York City is not the best place for it. This city gets extremely cold in winter. It snows most of the winter season in NYC, which makes riding a motorcycle nearly impossible.

It rains heavily in New York City during the summer season, making it challenging for riders to use motorcycles for transport.

2.5 Less-Responsible and Reckless Riding Behavior

Motorcycle riders in New York City are often seen as less responsible on the road. Reckless behavior is not limited to motorcycle riders; car drivers equally engage in dangerous driving. However, when they drive dangerously, motorcyclists usually face the consequences as they are on the receiving end. As we can predict, if a car driver hits a motorcycle, the biker is more likely to die or get severely injured.

The risky behaviors of motorcycle riders and car drivers include swerving dangerously, unsafe lane changing, speeding, riding while drunk, and not wearing protective riding gear while riding a motorcycle.

3. How to Stay Safe While Riding a Motorcycle in New York

Riding a motorcycle in New York may be inherently dangerous but you can improve your safety by following a few rules.

  • Work on your reflexes.
  • Improve your spatial awareness.
  • Don’t panic in difficult riding situations.
  • Improve your judgment skills.
  • Be responsive.
  • Don’t treat city roads as race tracks.
  • Ride slowly.
  • Wear proper riding gear always while riding.
  • Don’t ride when you are drunk.
  • Don’t try to look cool and perform stunts.
  • Get training from a reputable motorcycle riding institute.
  • Always be within your limits.
  • Anticipate risks and obstacles and try to avoid them safely.
  • Follow the traffic rules.
  • Stay alert.
  • Ride defensively.

4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

4.1 Where Do 70% of Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

The majority of motorcycle accidents (approximately 70%) occur at intersections. This happens because motorcycles become less visible to car drivers and other heavy vehicles at intersections, especially while turning. Drivers usually misjudge the speed of motorcyclists at intersections, resulting in a crash.

Always slow down at intersections and look for vehicles approaching you from every direction before you cross the intersection.

4.2 What State Has the Highest Rate of Motorcycle Accidents?

The most unsafe U.S. state for motorcyclists with the most number of motorcycle accident fatalities is Mississippi. It tops the list of most unsafe U.S. states with a fatality rate of 14.22 per 10,000 registered motorcycles.

On the other hand, Texas is also one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists, with the highest number of motorcycle accidents overall. The other U.S. states with a high rate of motorcycle accidents include South Carolina, Florida, and Arizona.

4.3 What Type of Motorcycle Has the Most Accidents?

Sports and super sports bikes are the most dangerous types of motorcycles. These high-performance bikes cause the most motorcycle accidents because they are overly powerful and unsuitable for road operations.

Due to their aggressive ergonomics and high-speed performance, super sports bikes are difficult for most riders to handle and control. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), this bike type was involved in the most motorcycle accidents, resulting in 1,169 deaths in 2021. This equates to around 20% of total motorcycle accident fatalities. 

4.4 What Is the Safest City to Ride a Motorcycle?

Considering the 2021 motorcycle accident statistics, Boise has become the safest U.S. state for motorcycle riders. In 2021, the death rate was estimated to be only 0.42 per 100,000 residents in Boise.

5. Takeaway

Due to its global center of finance, commerce, technology, culture, media, and entertainment, New York is one of the busiest cities with a great hustle and bustle. Though this makes the city quite colorful and fun, it also makes riding a motorcycle quite a risky thing.

The most common factors making things dangerous for motorcycle riders in New York City include congested roads, less maintained and imperfect roads, unpredictable weather conditions, risky riding behavior, and speeding.

However, with good care, wearing protective gear during the ride, staying alert, and riding sensibly and carefully, you can ride safely even in New York City.

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