With gas topping $4 a gallon, many Virginians are looking for alternatives to filling up their gas guzzling cars, trucks, and SUVs. Some have turned to the region’s public transportation system, others are attempting to carpool or telecommute, and in increasing numbers men and women are opting for a two-wheel driving experience. While these new or returning motorcycle riders may be saving a few bucks, experts wonder if the increase of motor bikes on Virginia’s roads is causing an increase in accidents and deaths.
Trading Safety for Gas Mileage?
It is no surprise that people are turning to scooters and motorcycles in an attempt to stretch their commuting dollars. Motorcycles average about 56 miles per gallon (mpg) and a brand new motorcycle can cost under $4,000. Compared to the high cost of trading in an inefficient car or truck and buying a more efficient one, a motorcycle can seem like a great deal.
Unfortunately, there are ample statistics to show that motorcycle riding isn’t necessarily the safest alternative. Just like drivers who ditch their modern low gas mileage automobiles for older models with less safety features but better mileage, new motorcycle converts may be trading safety for less pain at the pump. While they may save on gas, they also have greater chance of being injured or killed in a traffic accident – especially if, like many riders, they neglect the basics of motorcycle safety.
According to experts, one of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents is excessive speed. The two main reasons that crashes happen are when riders go into a turn too fast, or when they just aren’t experienced enough to handle a motorcycle safely. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also an issue, but many believe that inexperience is much more of a problem. The increasing popularity of sport bikes have also been cited as a safety problem. These extremely powerful and nimble bikes attract riders with a love for speed and as fatality statistics tell us, often too little regard for safety.
How to Stay Safe
There are many things that riders can do to stay safe on their motorcycle. More information about motorcycle safety can be found in our law library article, ”Motorcyclists – How to Protect Yourself on the Road”. To summarize, all riders should:
- Take safety seriously. Accept that by riding a motorcycle you are increasing your odds of being involved in a serious traffic accident, and take the necessary steps to improving your odds of both avoiding an accident and surviving one if it happens to you.
- Take motorcycle safety classes. If you’re new to riding, this is a must. On the other hand, if you’re riding again after a break – don’t assume that you remember all the rules and tips for protecting yourself. Do yourself – and your family – a favor and take a refresher course.
- Take the time to get a license. Don’t think you can go out and get a bike then start riding the same day. It is imperative that you take the time to get properly licensed.
- Wear protective gear. Helmets are probably the most important safety item available to motorcycle riders. Don’t skimp on quality, and always wear one – always. In addition, look into protective clothing and eye and face protection. Also, don’t forget photo-reflective clothes for those dark or dusky rides when it’s hard for other drivers to see you.
- Never drink and ride. Never.
If you need help because you or someone you love is unfortunate enough to be involved in a motorcycle accident, then we want to hear from you. Please contact the Northern Virginia law offices of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas today and let us work with you to secure the justice and compensation that you deserve.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Toll Free: 800.741.1012