Safety and Motorcycles: The Enigma of a Motorcycle

Safety and Motorcycles: The Enigma of a Motorcycle

Why is it more and more people are drawn (especially males) to motorcycles? What is the m

agic behind this 2-wheel vehicle patterned after a bicycle but powered with an engine and supported with a much heavier frame? Just how safe is it?

Motorcycles have been a part of transportation for a long time. Ducati started as early as 1926 in Bologna Italy. On 1934, couple of Austrians in Mattighofen showed their fascination about motorcycle by manufacturing one of the most admired and sought after motorcycle in the world, KTM.

But over the years, the motorcycle has come to fit a variety of needs beyond basic transportation. Every year hundreds of riders show their best skills in motocross. And bikers all over the world take their motorcycle for a cross country tour.

I myself am very much interested for a lengthy cross-country tour after watching the “Long Way Round” by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman.

But just how safe is it to ride a motorcycle? The most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that in 2003, almost 4,000 motorcyclists were killed on the roads and highways of the United States. Motorcycle injuries increased as well since 1996, from about 55,000 to approximately 85,000 in 2005. The biggest percentage rise in the number of motorcycle deaths is in under 20 and over 50 age groups. According to studies, most accidents happen when rider is alone rather than with big groups. And though 20% of riders in the U.S. are females, most of fatalities are males.

Despite of the above statistics, more and more people are drawn to own a motorcycle. In Ebay alone, there is an estimated 5,000 motorcycles for sale every month. Just look how fast those motorcycles disappear as soon as the seller offer his bike on the famous online auction. Cycletrader.com, Craigslist.org, Motosites.com, Motorcyclescan.com and Powersportsnetwork.com are few of the biggest online classifieds for used motorcycles.

Sale of new motorcycles specifically dual sport and street legal motorcycles showed significant increase as well. According to Motorcycle Industry Council, Dual Sports motorcycle-sale is up 19%, from 29,610 (2005) to 35,245 (2006). The motorcycle industry generated an estimated $25.5 billion in consumer sales.

I guess, there is unexplainable bliss of owning a motorcycle, may it be for motocross, cross-country road trips or just simply urban transportation.

There will always be issue of safety. But if you’re a mature and responsible rider you will always take precautions seriously.