In the newest report released from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,668 motorcyclists were killed during 2013, a slight decrease from the previous year of 4,986 motorcycle deaths. Because there are more motorcyclists riding each year, this is a promising trend. Fortunately not every motorcycle accident results in a fatality, but according to the accident lawyers at Sevenish Law Firm, the types of motorcycle accident injuries can range from severe abrasions to permanent impairments, affecting thousands of motorcyclists each year (NHTSA reports 84,000 injuries occurred in 2013).
While motorcyclists only make up 3% of roadway users, according to the Insurance Information Institute, they account for approximately 14% of all roadway fatalities and about 2% of all injuries sustained in accidents. In efforts to avoid a crash, motorcyclists should use motorcycle crash technology whenever possible. The use of such technology not only keeps motorcyclists safer, but other motorists also stay safer, decreasing the number of crash related injuries and fatalities.
Safety First, More Than a Helmet
Some riders believe that a helmet is a safety “must have” because it reduces the risk, and may even prevent brain injuries in the event of an accident. A motorcycle helmet on its own, however, will not prevent a crash from occurring. Other gear, such as jackets, gloves, and other protective gear can keep a motorcyclist’s body from becoming severely injured in a crash, especially if it contains padding at the shoulders, elbows and knees. While helmets and protective gear cannot guarantee less injury after a motorcycle accident, an airbag motorcycle jacket may increase the chances of even less injury from impact.
Think of an airbag jacket or vest as a motorcyclist’s personal airbag. When a motorcyclist is thrown from his or her motorcycle, in the event of an accident, the airbag deploys during the impact. (The jacket or vest is connected to the motorcycle and disconnects during an accident; think of a killswitch on a treadmill).
Technology Changes Motorcycle Crash Outcomes
Every motorcyclist, at any level of experience, will most likely encounter a “close call” on their motorcycle and should always prepare for the worst case scenario. Unfortunately, even the most skilled motorcyclists can be injured or killed in an accident, but preparedness is key.
Motorcyclists know that not every motorcycle is built the same, nor does it ride the same. One of the most important components of motorcycle safety is driver comfort and confidence. If you, as a motorcyclist, feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar with your motorcycle, you’re more likely to take a spill or have a crash with another, much bigger motorist; you may even know this from experience. Here’s where fine tuning may be important.
- ECU Tuning: Electronic Control Unit (ECU) Tuning (or remapping) is not for every motorcyclist and should not be done without a professional’s assistance. ECU remapping resets factory settings and allows users to make their motorcycles run more smoothly (ie. smoother throttle and better maneuvering). Some riders, who have had ECU tuning done felt as if they have more control on their motorcycle; ultimately making it more safe. While ECU tuning is not recommended for every rider, make sure you talk with a skilled motorcycle technician.
- ABS: Braking to avoid accident is crucial and stopping a motorcycle is much more difficult and dangerous than braking in a car. Fortunately, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) can make braking easier and safer for motorcyclists because of the lack of locking up during the braking process. Despite the advanced technology in today’s motorcycles, not every motorcycle is equipped with ABS. For added security and decreasing your chance of issues when braking, consider operating and owning a motorcycle with ABS.
Motorcycle technology, from protective gear to complex tuning, can reduce the risk of annual motorcycle accidents as well as the injuries and fatalities that may result in such preventable crashes. As a motorcyclist, equip your gear and your motorcycle with the the safest technology available to decrease your chances of becoming another statistic.