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Motorcycle riders face increased risk on roads

Riding a motorcycle is a favorite pastime for many Ohio residents. As pleasurable as motorcycle riding may be, it also presents some serious risks. Motorcycles don't have the same level of visibility that cars do. Additionally, drivers and passengers on motorcycles don't have many of the same protections that car occupants have. Some motorcycle manufacturers are attempting to enhance motorcycle safety features. However, even with those improvements, the risk is still present.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, 60 out of every 1,000 registered motorcycles was involved in a fatal accident. That's compared to 14 out of every 1,000 for cars. During that same year, motorcycle riders were 26 times more likely to be in a fatal motorcycle accident than car occupants, on the basis of vehicle miles traveled.

The risks of motorcycles are clear. What isn't so clear is how to better protect motorcyclists and their passengers. Many states have helmet laws on the books. According to the NHTSA, helmets are effective at preventing death 37 percent of the time for motorcycle drivers involved in accidents. Additionally, some companies are adding features like airbags and anti-lock brakes to their products. Other companies have developed wearable airbags that can fit inside a motorcyclist's jacket.

Perhaps the most effective strategy is for motorcyclists to exercise caution at all times. Many car and truck drivers aren't as vigilant as they should be with regard to sharing the road with motorcycles. By erring on the side of caution, a motorcyclist can eliminate many dangers. Motorcyclists who are injured in accidents caused by other drivers may be able to hold the liable party financially responsible through the filing of a personal injury action.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Motorcycle Crashes", accessed on Feb. 4, 2015

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