Motorcycle Safety Tips – Motorcycles have a higher rate of fatal accidents than automobiles. United States Department of Transportation data for 2005 from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System show that for passenger cars, 18.62 fatal crashes occur per 100,000 registered vehicles. For motorcycles this figure is higher at 75.19 per 100,000 registered vehicles – four times higher than for cars. The same data shows that 1.56 fatalities occur per 100 million vehicle miles traveled for passenger cars, whereas for motorcycles the figure is 43.47 – 28 times higher than for cars times more deaths per mile traveled in 2007). Furthermore for motorcycles the accident rates have increased significantly since the end of the 1990s, while the rates have dropped for passenger cars.
Wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the chances of death or injury in a motorcycle crash. The two major causes of motorcycle accidents are: motorists pulling out or turning in front of motorcyclists and violating their rights-of-way and motorcyclists running wide through turns. The former is sometimes called a SMIDSY, an acronym formed from the motorists’ common response of “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. The latter is more commonly caused by operating a motorcycle while intoxicated. Motorcyclists can anticipate and avoid some of these crashes with proper training, increasing their conspicuousness to other traffic, and separating alcohol and riding.
The United Kingdom has several organisations which are dedicated to improving motorcycle safety by providing advanced rider training over and above what is necessary to pass the basic motorcycle test. These include the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Along with increased personal safety, riders with these advanced qualifications often benefit from reduced insurance costs.
In South Africa, the Think Bike campaign is dedicated to increasing both motorcycle safety and the awareness of motorcycles on the country’s roads. The campaign, while strongest in the Gauteng province, has representation in Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and the Free State. It has dozens of trained marshals available for various events such as cycle races and is deeply involved in numerous other projects such as the annual Motorcycle Toy Run.
An MSF rider course for novices, Motorcycle Safety Education is offered throughout the United States by organisations ranging from state agencies to non-profit organisations to corporations. Most states use the courses designed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), while Oregon and Idaho developed their own. All of the training programs include a Basic Rider Course, an Intermediate Rider Course and an Advanced Rider Course.
In the UK (except Northern Ireland) and some Australian jurisdictions, such as Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, it is compulsory to undertake a rider training course before being issued a Learners License.
In Canada, motorcycle rider training is compulsory in Quebec and Manitoba only, but all provinces and territories have Graduated Licensing programs which place restrictions on new drivers until they have gained experience. Eligibility for a full motorcycle license or endorsement for completing a Motorcycle Safety course varies by province. The Canada Safety Council, a non-profit safety organisation, offers the Gearing Up program across Canada and is endorsed by the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council. Training course graduates may qualify for reduced insurance premiums
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