With motorcycle awareness programs active in just about every state across the nation, including one here in California, you’d think that riding a motorcycle has become safer now than it was when it was first invented. Unfortunately, thanks to bigger vehicles, more traffic on the roadways and a growing number of electronic distractions, this isn’t the case.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of motorcyclists are injured every year in motorcycle accidents across the nation while tens of hundreds do not survive at all. Even without exact numbers, this should be alarming to our readers. So why are motorcycles so dangerous? Let’s take a look and see why.

Much of the danger intrinsic to motorcycles lies in the vehicle’s size and design. Because they are smaller than typical motor vehicles such as cars and trucks, drivers in these other vehicles often say that they don’t see a motorcyclist until it’s too late. The design of a motorcycle also makes it considerably more dangerous because it does not provide a protective metal shell around riders like a car or truck would.

Dangerous road and weather conditions can also make a motorcycle a particularly deadly vehicle as well. Everything from a heavy rain, to fog, to a bright sunny day can affect any driver’s visibility, which can lead to crashes. Accidents can also be caused by poorly maintained roadways as well. Too much loose gravel or too many bumps can cause a motorcyclist to lose control, causing it crash into vehicles or other things in the environment.

The presence of safety equipment can often mean the difference between a minor injury or a fatal one in some crashes. Some protective gear, such as riding jackets and pants, can help prevent serious road-rash injuries. Other protective gear, such as helmets, provide far more protection and can even prevent someone from suffering a fatal head injury.

The biggest danger to motorcyclists though is other drivers. As we mentioned above, visibility is key to preventing a serious motorcycle accident. But it’s not just visibility that riders should be concerned about. Distractions from electronic devices and other occupants in the vehicle can lead to a crash because the driver’s attention is no longer on their surroundings.

Considering all of these factors, it shouldn’t be difficult for our readers to see what can turn a motorcycle into a deadly motor vehicle.

Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Motorcycle Safety,” Accessed Sept. 18, 2014