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Is a car safer than a motorcycle?

Are three-wheeled motorcycles safer than two-wheeled machines?

multiple motorcycles

The latest data from The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that motorcycle death rates in 2014 were 27 times higher than car accident fatality rates—27 times higher. This rate is not only astounding but extremely alarming. Despite these risks, motorcycle sales are continuing to increase. However, as a result of the dangers associated with motorcycle collisions, the popularity of three-wheel motorcycles, also referred to as trikes, may keep riders safer.

Comparing Three-Wheel and Two-Wheel Motorcycles

The primary disadvantages of motorcycles focus on three main factors: stability, protection, and control. Therefore, manufacturers are trying to increase motorcycle safety by altering designs to cater to the correction of these disadvantages, including promoting the stability and comfort of riding a three-wheeled motorcycle.

Many motorcycle purists refuse to acknowledge that trikes are real motorcycles. However, according to Florida statutes, wheels alone don’t define a motorcycle.

Here are three main factors to consider when evaluating trikes and traditional motorcycles:

  • Increased equilibrium. The addition of a third wheel allows for a more balanced distribution of weight. Rather than having the weight of the bike and passengers (which can exceed 1,000 pounds) distributed onto two points, the weight is triangulated and distributed onto three points. This equal appropriation of weight not only decreases the amount of effort the driver has to exert to keep the bike upright, but also increases the traction and equilibrium that the tires have on the road as he turns corners, brakes, and accelerates.
  • Increased stability. Riders on trikes don’t have to lean into curves to prevent tipping, as the third wheel holds the bike steady throughout a curve. This stability is also present at stoplights. In addition to decreasing rollover injuries, a trike’s design takes the pressure off the rider’s knees and muscles, as he no longer has to steady the bike with his body.
  • Increased peace of mind. Trikes are more rigid, and turn more like a car than a bike. A bike relies on counter-steering and a calculated lean to negotiate the perfect turn. Some three-wheel models have lower seats to allow the rider to maintain control at slower speeds. These factors contribute to the belief that trikes are safer.
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However, according to a 2012 article in the New York Times, although trike riders applaud the stability and comfort of these machines, many remain nostalgic for the lean of a two-wheeled bike.

Are Trikes Safer Than Two-Wheeled Motorcycles?

The question of whether trikes are safer than motorcycles is somewhat subjective, because regardless of the above advantages, some of the dangerous disadvantages remain the same. For instance, trikes are still open-air vehicles and provide little to no protection for riders who are thrown from their seats, especially if they’re riding without helmets. And while trikes may have a broader perspective of the road, that doesn’t mean other motorists see them as easily as they do cars and trucks.

Stay Informed About Motorcycle Safety

After helping hundreds of accident victims build strong foundations for their injury claims, we’ve learned that just about anything can cause a collision. This is why we like to take the initiative to educate our clients before an accident occurs.

The best way to protect yourself and your family from a motorcycle or trike catastrophe is by staying well-informed. Like and follow us on Facebook for periodic safety updates and resource notifications to ensure you have the facts and guidance you need to stay safe.

Related Links:

  • Common Motorcycle Accident Scenarios
  • Multi-Vehicle Motorcycle Accidents
  • Who Shouldn’t Drive a Motorcycle

Why Motorcycles Are Significantly More Dangerous Than Cars

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blog home Motorcycle Accident Why Motorcycles Are Significantly More Dangerous Than Cars

Riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car, as stated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Motorcycles are smaller, less visible, and less stable than four-wheeled passenger vehicles. They are far more likely to crash in emergency maneuvers such as swerving or braking.

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Motorcyclists lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, including seatbelts and airbags, and are more vulnerable to serious injuries in a wreck. Per vehicle miles traveled in a recent year, motorcycle fatalities amounted to nearly 29 times the number of traffic fatalities in cars. Motorcycles represent approximately 5% of highway fatalities every year, but account for only 2% of all registered vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What Are the Obligations of Cars on the Road Alongside Motorcycles?

Passenger vehicle drivers need to know that motorcyclists have the same rights to share the road as they do. They must yield the right-of-way to motorcycles in the same situations in which they would be required to yield to other cars. As motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars, drivers have an obligation to check their blind spots carefully and look for motorcyclists before making a left-hand turn at an intersection. Drivers should also be aware that a rider may need to downshift and swerve to avoid bumps in the road and other hazards.

How Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

While motorcycle accidents can happen for many reasons, the leading causes involve human error or negligence. Common causes of motorcycle crashes include:

  • Failure of drivers to register motorcycles in the roadway
  • Drivers making a left-hand turn into the path of a motorcyclist
  • Hazardous road conditions, such as uneven pavement, slippery surfaces, loose gravel, or debris
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding or reckless driving

What Types of Injuries Do Motorcyclists Suffer?

Lacking the protection of an enclosed vehicle, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries in a crash. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury — common when a rider is thrown from the bike
  • Disfiguring facial injuries – impact with the roadway can strip away skin and tissue
  • Biker’s arm – nerve damage caused by landing on one or both arms
  • Fractured bones — shoulders, wrists, elbows, hips, pelvis, and spine)
  • Road rash – a type of skin abrasion that occurs when a rider is thrown from the bike and slides along a hard surface
  • Damage to the lower extremities – legs, knees, ankle, hips, feet
  • Organ damage, internal bleeding — Internal injuries caused by force of impact
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After a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Negligent Driver

If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle crash that was someone else’s fault, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. Damages you may be entitled to claim may include past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of future earning potential, permanent impairment, scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and other losses. The first priority is to get medical treatment for your injuries. As soon as you are able, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your options under the law.

Why Choose Us?

At Allen Law, we offer one-on-one contact with your lawyer and a smaller feel as opposed to a large, mill-type firm. Attorney Julian Allen is a skilled negotiator and trial lawyer with more than 15 years of legal and trial experience. He is a former insurance defense attorney with insight into how “the other side” works. After a serious motorcycle crash, contact us at (843) 882-5005 to schedule a free initial consultation with no time limit. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you.

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