In the state of Missouri, there are over 109,000 registered motorcycles in 2010, as reported by the Statista.com, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association listed a total of 74 motorcycle fatalities. One of the leading factors or causes of motorcycle accidents is the lack of visibility on the part of both the rider and the driver(s) of automobiles. This means that either the rider failed to see the other vehicle or the driver of the other vehicle failed to notice the motorcyclist. Either way, it means an accident with possible injuries and fatalities.
The problem for the motorcycle rider is one of underestimation of the situation or overestimation of their own skills. Many licensed motorcyclist have never taken a motorcycle safety course simply because they learned to ride on an off-road bike or just messed around on one when they were young. A motorcycle safety class teaches the participants how to ride, safety rules, and how to safely navigate the streets, roads, and highways of Missouri. The rider learns defensive techniques designed to keep danger as far away as possible.
The problem an automobile driver faces is they are not trained to “see” the motorcycle. Our minds are taught and trained to look for other vehicles – meaning other cars and trucks. You cannot help but see an eighteen-wheeler because of their size. Conversely, it is easy to miss seeing a motorcycle because it is much shorter and narrower than even the tiniest of cars. Additionally, many auto drivers have distaste for motorcyclist because of the antics of a few who showboat their bikes. Consequently, they drive too close, pull out in front of, and may try to push the motorcycle and rider to one side.
The real issues here are safety, well-being, sharing the road, and understanding the limits of both rider and driver. No one wants to be in an accident – period. Motorcycles do not fare well when struck by a car or truck and certainly the rider is just as vulnerable. If an auto is following closely behind a motorcycle and the rider suddenly hits the brakes or a pot-hole causes the rider to lose their balance the auto driver will surely run-over the bike and its rider – not just hit them but run them over. If a motorcyclist is weaving in and out of traffic trying to get somewhere faster, they are playing Russian-roulette with their lives and one day it will bite them.
Aggressive driving and improper safety knowledge are leading factors contributing to motorcycle accidents and fatalities across the US and in Missouri. Make sure you know the rules of the road and that you are being a considerate and sharing operator. Riding a motorcycle is an exciting way to see the state, don’t let your ignorance of safety and riding rules make you into another statistic. Ride defensively and live to ride another day and every other day you choose.