Motorcyclists are at the highest risk of injury or death in their first year riding, with the most dangerous month being the first, according to safety studies. Already a potentially dangerous endeavor, the first 30 days are about four times riskier than the entire second year for motorcycle riders. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) issued a study showing that 22 percent of all motorcycle collision claims from 2003 through 2007 (about 57,000) occurred within one month of the driver starting a new policy. After six months, the claim rate fell by almost two-thirds. Another study released indicates taking licensing courses that fast-track the time it takes riders to get out on the road may contribute to the high collision rates among novice motorcyclists.
It is vitally important for riders to learn how to handle their own bikes in a safe and effective manner. But taking the licensing courses do not necessarily lower crash rates, experts say, though they can teach invaluable skills.
The institute analyzed the effects of having state-required training programs for riders younger than 21. In Florida and three other states, the HLDI found course graduates’ collision claims were 10 percent higher than 28 states without the requirement.
For others who want to learn to drive a motorcycle, the nonprofit Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers training in 48 states and has helped more than six million riders. One of the most important things for new motorcyclists to do is make sure other drivers see them. Unfortunately, skills learned during training and precautions taken out on the road may not protect motorcyclists from negligent motor vehicle drivers.
According to national data, motorcycle deaths reached 5,312 in 2008 – double the total from a decade prior. In 2009, fatalities fell to 4,469. Negligent drivers can cause extremely damaging injuries and crashes, which are particularly catastrophic when a motorcycle is involved. An advocate with experience in motor vehicle accidents and injuries can be helpful in dealing with insurance companies and working towards compensation for the injured motorist.
Source: Associated Press, “Data show risk highest for new motorcycle riders,” 4/16/12.