There is no doubt that New York City can be dangerous for motorcyclists, especially during rush hours between 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning and 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Despite its large population of riders, the city is home to numerous hazards that put bikers at risk. From busy roads with heavy traffic to unpredictable weather conditions, staying safe while on two wheels in the Big Apple can be challenging.
High Traffic Volume Affects Motorcyclists
NYC is well-known for its high traffic volume. The large number of vehicles on the road and pedestrians bustling about leads to a higher risk of motorcycle accidents. Many motorists are either in a rush or need to pay attention, making it dangerous for anyone riding a motorcycle.
Poor Road Conditions and Motorcycle Accidents
Roads are hazardous in NYC. Potholes are plentiful and many are waiting for repair. Rough pavement, debris and other hazards are common, and roads need to be more conducive to safe biking. Any threat to the motorcycle’s balance can cause the rider to lose control and result in severe injuries.
High Risk Behaviors and Motorcycle Accidents
Both motorcyclists and drivers engage in risky behavior on the road. For instance, weaving in and out of traffic or lane-splitting can lead to a motorcycle crash. Speeding can make it too hard for a motorist to stop in time to avoid a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The following statistics show the dangers of riding a motorcycle.
- Motorcycle riders are 37 times more likely to be in a fatal accident than other motorists.
- Speeding causes most motorcycle accidents.
- The 20-24 year old age group incurs the most fatalities.
- Men are more likely to be in a fatal motorcycle accident.
- Inexperienced bikers cause almost half of all serious accidents with a motorcycle.
Motorcyclists Must Wear Protective Gear in New York
Motorcycle riders are required to wear protective gear to stay safe in NYC. According to the New York DMV, the following are mandatory for all motorcycle operators and passengers:
- Helmets: Approved helmets certified by the United States Department of Transportation federal safety standards (FMVSS 218) are necessary for operators and passengers. In addition, it is recommended that four square inches on either side of the helmet have reflective material, improving visibility.
- Eyewear: Motorcyclists must wear protective eyewear, with or without an approved windshield. Prescription eyewear is permitted as long as the unit is certified to meet DMV standards. This certification means they comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI -Z87.1). The DMV recommends approved goggles or a face shield.
Other Requirements for Motorcyclists
The head and rear lights on the motorcycle must be on whenever the bike is in use. Bikers can ride two abreast in a lane. However, they are unable to ride aside a motor vehicle in the same lane. Motorcycle riders cannot fail to signal or pass on unapproved parts of the road.
Distracted Driving Causes Motorcycle Injuries
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. This behavior can affect anyone on a motorcycle, in a vehicle or someone walking. When drivers engage in other activities while motoring such as texting, they are not paying attention to the road ahead.
Since many motorists fail to see motorcycles when they are paying attention, distraction is even more of a problem.
Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident
Some types of injuries appear more frequently than others in motorcycle accidents.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: This injury causes many fatalities or life-changing disabilities. Traumatic brain injuries fall by almost 70 percent when bikers wear helmets.
- Fractures: Broken bones, particularly of the extremities, are common in a motorcycle accident.
- Blunt Trauma: Ejection from a motorcycle can cause blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen.
- Road Rash: Without protective clothing, the rider may develop this painful, abrasion-induced condition when thrown from their bike. Sometimes a mild injury, road rash can be serious if it becomes infected or is severe.
Protecting Yourself When Riding a Motorcycle
While there are plenty of ways motorcyclists can protect themselves while riding through NYC, such as wearing proper protective gear and being aware of their surroundings, they also need to remain alert to potential dangers on the road. These include drivers who often fail to respect bikers’ right-of-way and poor road conditions. Riders also need to be aware of areas of the city known for their high theft rates or vandalism against motorcycles. Bikers need to take extra precautions when parking or storing their vehicles.