With less protection, motorcycles take more lives and are more costly. According to several studies, motorcycle accidents are far more costly than car accidents, both in terms of lives lost and medical expenses incurred. In one study researchers found that the mortality rate for motorcycle accidents is 5 times greater than that of car accidents, and the injury rate is 10 times higher.The cost of related health care expenses is 6 times higher as well, according to information from HealthDay.
Though these conclusions were drawn from an analysis of traffic accidents in the Canadian province of Ontario, researchers say they have found similar patterns elsewhere.
One of the reasons motorcycles are inherently riskier is because they lack the protection offered by cars. “It is clear that riding a motorcycle is much more dangerous than riding in an automobile,” said the head researcher, Dr. Daniel Pincus. But the study did not suggest motorcycles should be banned from highways.
“A lot of people enjoy riding motorcycles, so we aren’t saying that the answer is to ban them,” said Pincus, who works at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.
We should just make riding a motorcycle safer. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in the United States around half of states require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. But simply telling people to use a helmet is not enough. “It really is necessary to back this with the weight of the law.” Alcohol use is another problem. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, of all motorcyclists who died in accidents in the USA in 2018, 29% of them were under the influence of alcohol (October 2019).
Motorcyclists should take some simple steps to reduce their risk, such as wearing a helmet, following speed limits, and not consuming alcohol. Vehicle safety has improved significantly over the years, with seatbelts, airbags, and better structural integrity that now provide passengers much more protection than they had decades ago. The nature of riding a motorcycle (or bicycle) means that people are more vulnerable in an accident, but there are other security measures (such as anti-lock brakes) that help reduce risk. Kara Macek, spokesperson for GHSA, found patterns like this study in other places as well. In fact, data from the US shows that for each mile (1.6 km) driven, motorcyclists have a mortality rate 26 times higher than vehicle passengers.
On the other hand, individuals who were involved in motorcycle accidents suffered 10 times more serious injuries, with an annual rate of 125 out of each 100,000 motorcycles compared to 12 out of each 100,000 cars. When it comes to related medical costs, on average, motorcycle accidents cost almost twice as much as automobile accidents.
Human suffering is the main problem, Pincus states. “Some of us who work on this study have experience in treating patients who have suffered motorcycle accidents, and we have seen some terrible injuries,” he affirmed. Highlighting the cost of medical care could offer additional motivation to improve motorcycle safety, he noted.