There’s a lot of enjoyment that can come from riding a motorcycle. It provides a feeling of exhilaration that just doesn’t come with driving a car. Unfortunately, with this added exhilaration also comes some added risk. Just looking a motorcycle, it’s obvious that these vehicles would be less safe than cars. However, technology is in the works to try and make them at least a little bit safer.
Just How Dangerous are Motorcycles?
But are motorcycles really that much more dangerous than cars? They both drive on the same roads at roughly the same speeds. According to these motorcycle accident attorneys in Los Angeles, “motorcycle riders are much more likely to be injured or killed when they are involved in an accident” and the stats back that up. According to stats from the federal government back in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was 29 times higher than that of cars, per mile traveled. This is clearly a significant increase, and one that needs to be considered when buying or riding a motorcycle.
One of the best methods people can currently use to keep themselves safer on motorcycles is wear a helmet. A primary cause of death or serious injury while on a motorcycle is from head trauma, and a helmet makes this less likely. However, helmets aren’t foolproof. They are only about 37 percent effective when it comes to preventing deaths, and 67 percent effective when it comes to preventing brain damage. While better, you’re still in danger of dying while on a motorcycle, even if you wear a helmet.
For a while, the number of motorcycles deaths in the United States was declining, from about the 1980s until the late 1990s. However since then, the total number of deaths each year has been steadily climbing back up. What can be done to reverse this trend, and make motorcycles safer?
New Technology on the Horizon
There are two technologies currently in development that aim to make motorcycles safer. The first is by Bosch Mobility Solutions, and aims to prevent crashes before they happen. It does this by allowing cars and motorcycles to connect with one another using a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system. With this system a motorcycle can be alerted when nearby cars quickly apply the brakes, for example, or alert them to obstacles in the road. The company claims that with this technology, motorcycle accidents could be reduced by 33 percent.
The other technology is from a startup called Ride Vision. With Ride Vision, two wide angle cameras will be mounted at the front and the back of the bike. These cameras will attach to a computer underneath the seat, and use the footage from the cameras to analyze the surrounding area in 360 degrees. These cameras will scan the bikes surroundings, and alert the driver to things like other drivers turning towards them, or coming up on them from behind. To alert the driver, audio cues and blinking lights mounted near the mirrors will be used. The idea is to give the driver of the motorcycle warnings about things they may not otherwise notice.
The goal of both of these technologies is to increase visibility for motorcyclists, something that is a big problem. It’s hard to avoid an accident if you don’t see it coming, and when you’re driving a motorcycle, it’s hard to get a good look at your surroundings at all times.
Both of these technologies are still a little ways off. Bosch Mobility Solutions’ Vehicle-to-Vehicle technology is still in prototype, while Ride Vision expects to launch by 2020. Time will tell whether or not both of these technologies ultimately come to market, and more importantly, are able to significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries associated with motorcycles.
What New Tech Lies In Store?
Besides these two technologies, could there be more on the way? Even if both of these technologies were fully implemented, they would only reduce the number of motorcycle deaths by roughly a third. And while this is admirable, perhaps there is more that can be done. We can only hope that new technologies come along after these that can make the roads safer for not only motorcyclists, but for everyone on the road.
What Riders Can Do for Now
Until these new technologies become mainstream, there are a few things motorcyclists can do to keep themselves safer. For starters, always wear a helmet. While it may not prevent every injury, it is definitely better than nothing. Besides that, you should always remember to use your turn signals, and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid driving in bad weather if you can avoid it, and don’t take any unnecessary risks while you drive. Driving a motorcycle is dangerous enough as it is without you making it worse by not following standard safety procedures.
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