motorcycle accidents

Why Do Americans Think that Riding Motorcycles Is Risky?

Why Do Americans Think that Riding Motorcycles Is Risky?

Riding a motorcycle is liberation in its purest form and the perfect personification of true adventure. Riders love to enjoy the breeze blowing past their hair as they ride through the countryside and highways, and the feeling of the adrenalin rush as they keep on twisting the throttle.

However, the above-described image of motorcycle riding is to some extent overshadowed by a feeling of concern for many people in the United States. The biggest drawback of motorcycles is that many people believe they are dangerous, and there are several valid reasons for this belief. Continue reading this article to learn in detail why Americans think that riding motorcycles is risky.

1. Why Do Americans Think that Riding Motorcycles Is Risky?

1.1 Lack of Protection: Exposed and Vulnerable

Lack of Protection: Exposed and Vulnerable
Photo Credit: Web Bike World

The primary issue that can be attributed to motorcycles is safety since the danger involved is quite apparent. Motorcycles have no metal covering or structure like cars. Cars also come with airbags and safety seat belts. Meanwhile, motorcycles have nothing to keep you in place and secure you in the event of an accident.

Unfortunately, the rider is directly exposed to the impact, and therefore even a slight accident will increase the risk of severe injury dramatically. Statistics paint a clear picture in terms of fatality. Motorcyclists are more prone to the risk of death in case of an accident than car drivers.

Such a vulnerable nature of motorcycles is very concerning and a great reason to be worried for those family members and loved ones who have a close affinity with motorcycle riders. The risks involved in an accident make many people avoid motorcycles as a means of transport.

1.2 Statistics Paint a Clear Picture

As noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 24% more likely to be killed in a crash than passengers in a car. A study conducted on the number of motorcyclists killed on U.S. roads revealed that about 5,932 motorcyclists died in 2021 alone. These statistics further fuel the perception among U.S. riders that riding motorcycles is a dangerous endeavor.

1.3 State Variations and Risk Factors

It is worth noting that accident rates do differ from state to state in the United States. Some of the factors that might influence it include weather and road conditions, helmet usage that is prominent in some states and not in others, and traffic congestion.

It is also noted that states with more harsh climates and relaxed helmet requirements have higher accident rates. This tends to support the risk perception among Americans that motorcycles are unsafe.

1.4 Sharing the Road: The Visibility Challenge

Sharing the Road: The Visibility Challenge

Another major reason why Americans think that riding motorcycles is risky is the presence of reckless and distracted drivers on the road. They are a major source of risk for motorcyclists as they lack adequate awareness.

Car drivers can easily fail to notice motorcycles, especially because motorcycles can often operate in blind spots. This is the reason why most riders constantly complain that they feel invisible to the majority of drivers on the road.

The risk of getting hit is magnified further due to the presence of distracted drivers on the road as they are paying more attention to replying to texts or emails, changing music, and getting sidetracked by different distractions on the road while driving.

1.5 Weather Miseries: Sunshine or Slippery Roads?

Weather Miseries: Sunshine or Slippery Roads?
Photo Credit: Eazi Grip

Riding motorcycles gives a thrilling sense of being close to nature but extreme weather poses more risks. Rain makes the roads wet and slippery, making travel on the two wheels extremely difficult. It increases the chances of motorcycle accidents.

While you can simply flip on the car’s wipers and manage the temperature inside with a push of a button, motorcyclists receive all the force of the downpour.

Another challenge that is unique to motorcyclists is the cold weather. This greatly affects the response capacity of riders as they put on heavy clothing that slows them down and reduces agility. Riding a motorcycle can also be dangerous, especially during the summer season when the temperature reaches its peak which causes fatigue and dehydration in riders.

1.6 Motorcycle Club Culture and the Stereotype

The social representation of the U.S. motorcycle clubs may also contribute to the perception of risk. Although most clubs emphasize responsible riding and sharing community values, others are associated with loud engines, reckless stunts, and daring attitudes. These stereotypes, even if they do not include all riders, give Americans an unpleasant feeling when thinking about being surrounded by motorcyclists. It also plays a huge role in the belief system of Americans that motorcycling is dangerous.

1.7 Beyond the Stereotype: Not All Riders Are Reckless

The perception of the risk of riding motorcycles among Americans is further aggravated by the stereotype of reckless riders or motorcycle squids. Motorcycle squids are those motorcyclists who in an attempt to look cool and expert, make stupid decisions while riding motorcycles. They opt not to wear proper riding gear and perform stunts in the middle of busy roads to get attention.

Motorcycles with obnoxiously loud mufflers, hefty engines, aggressive top speeds, and risky movements between lanes portray reckless riders who only look forward to a thrilling ride while not prioritizing their safety.

Despite this, it is crucial to note that not all riders are squids and this reckless behavior of certain riders should not be generalized. Most bikers are law-abiding citizens who are conscious on the roads and their primary aim is to reach the destination safely.

2. Mitigating the Risks: Gearing Up and Riding Smart

Mitigating the Risks: Gearing Up and Riding Smart
Photo Credit: Revzilla

The picture is not as negative as it seems. The safety of a motorcyclist is in the use of safety gear such as a helmet, leather jacket, leather pants, and motorcycling boots, which play a major role in minimizing the degree of harm one is likely to encounter.

Responsible riders never go out for a ride without being fully covered and they take solid steps to mitigate the risks involved in motorcycle riding. This comprises taking a safety riding course to get trained on how to maneuver the bike safely, wearing appropriate riding gear, and never operating the bike when the weather is bad.

Nonetheless, one can never deny the risks involved which makes Americans understandably worried about riding motorcycles.

3. So, Is a Motorcycle a Risky Choice?

Whether riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous or it is a safe means of transport depends on how you look at it and your perceptions. Some of the areas where accidents are more likely to happen include construction sites, intersections, parking lots, and busy roads. Also, the rate of accidents increases during rush hours.

With this knowledge and by following traffic laws, receiving safety training, riding carefully, and wearing appropriate protective gear, most of the risks involved with motorcycle riding can be mitigated.

The fact is, for most U.S. riders, the possibilities of an accident while riding a motorcycle outweigh the pleasure and thrill of riding. Choosing between a car and a motorcycle involves considering one’s ability, willingness, and dedication to the responsible and safe operation of the vehicle.

4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

4.1 Are America’s Roads Inherently More Dangerous for Motorcyclists?

It is not that roads in America are more dangerous for motorcycle riding than in other countries but a few factors make it seem so. The challenges to the American riders are several that help build the perception of risk and fear among them.

If you ride in the U.S., you must have observed that car drivers are more likely to fail to notice motorcyclists on the road. The unfavorable weather conditions in certain U.S. states, such as rain and snow can make riding a motorcycle a very tough task. But, the regular riders who are cautious enough, can avoid the risks by enrolling themselves in safety training programs, using the right riding gear, and avoiding riding in extreme weather.

4.2 Is Motorcycle Riding Safe in the USA?

Riding a motorcycle in the USA can be safe, but it all comes down to how you are planning to do it. It is not inherently unsafe, contrary to some opinions, but it does present a significantly greater risk that must be managed. In the end, it is a personal choice and decision of a rider whether the thrill of riding a motorcycle for him/her is more than the risk involved.

4.3 Is Riding a Motorcycle Worth the Risk?

There is no definitive answer to this question as to whether the dangers of motorcycle riding outweigh the fun. It all depends on what you think about motorcycling and how comfortable you are with the risks involved.

Motorcycles provide their users with a unique feeling of freedom and excitement that is hard to get with a car; however, riding a motorcycle entails a higher degree of risk of getting into a fatal accident.

If this idea of being more exposed on the road causes you stress, then a car may be the better choice. Finally, the decision is yours whether to take a long drive and enjoy the ride on a motorcycle or drive in a caged machine.

5. Takeaway

So, is a motorcycle a dangerous travel companion or a picturesque joyride on two wheels? It can be both. Motorcycles are undoubtedly a riskier mode of transportation than cars. They provide less protection during an accident and the rider is more defenseless in bad weather conditions.

However, the risk is something that many of the riders look forward to when on the tracks and open roads. They enjoy the conditions they face on road trips and love how the fresh air reacts with their bodies while riding.

Riding a motorcycle is a matter of choice depending on an individual’s preferences or needs. They are riskier but they are very useful if people use them with the right safety measures and equipment. For motorcycle enthusiasts, the feeling of thrill and happiness overcomes all the perception of risks that come with riding a motorcycle.

Americans may be highly concerned when it comes to safety but a majority of them are addicted to open road traveling on two wheels. American cruising culture is one of the most prominent in the world and this is the reason why every major motorcycle manufacturer wants to target the U.S. cruiser market. If you are a part of the American motorbiking culture, Viking Bags offers a range of parts and luggage bags , including sissy bars , backrests , crash bars , saddlebags , tank bags , and backpacks , so you can perfectly fit in.

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