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|A Comprehensive Approach to Motorcycle Safety
Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Motorcycle crashes claim the lives of over 2,100 riders each year. Per mile traveled, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and about four times as likely to be injured.1 While only 20 percent of car crashes result in injury or death, that figure jumps to an astounding 80 percent for motorcycle crashes. 2
Crash prevention components. Preventing crashes before they occur is a key component of a motorcycle safety program. Motorcycle safety crash prevention programs focus on four areas:
Injury prevention components. Despite the best prevention efforts, Motorcycle crashes do occur. The majority of the crashes with other vehicles are not the motorcyclist's fault. During a crash, the most important factor in reducing injury is personal protection for the motorcyclist. Leather jackets, gloves, trousers, proper footwear, eye protection, and helmets provide this personal protection. Helmets are by far the motorcycle rider's most important safety equipment because they protect against injuries to the head and brain.
Why is injury prevention important during a crash? Consider some facts:
Clearly riders need protection when a crash occurs!
A helmet only works if a motorcyclist wears it, and the most effective means of increasing helmet usage is by enacting helmet laws that cover all riders --universal motorcycle helmet laws.
Rapid emergency response. After a crash has occurred, an injured rider's life can depend on rapid and appropriate emergency medical response. Emergency medical service personnel provide life support at the scene and during transport to the optimal emergency care facility. Injury severity and time are critical to survival. Wearing a motorcycle helmet lessens the severity of head injuries and may give the emergency response team the extra time needed to save a life.