First Few Months Are The Riskiest For Motorcyclists, Study Says

Studies show that, by a wide margin, the most dangerous time for motorcyclists is the first year of ownership, especially the first month. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), riders are approximately four times more likely to be injured or involved in amotorcycle accident during their first year than the entire second year.

In another HLDI study of insurance claims made by motorcycle owners, it was found that 22 percent of the 57,000 claims made from 2003 to 2007 were made within the first 30 days after the policy took effect. As time passed by, the claim rate dropped, by one-third in the second month and by almost two-thirds after six months.

If the motorcycle is a so-called supersport bike – bikes that have high power-to-weight ratios and can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour – the study found that more than half of the insurance claims occurred during the first three months.

Why are the Early Days of Ownership So Dangerous?

According to Matthew Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, motorcycle accidents and injuries during the first year are most likely caused by inexperience. “Operating a motorcycle is a fairly complex task,” said Moore, requiring the operator to shift gears, release the clutch and regulate the throttle all while looking out for traffic and maintaining balance.

Another explanation is that evidence suggests that motorcycle licensing courses in certain states that speed up the time for a young driver to become fully licensed do not actually reduce the number of crashes.

A HLDI study of state-required training programs for riders under 21 in California, Florida, Idaho and Oregon found that the collision rate among those who completed the program was 10 percent higher than in states without such requirements. The reason for the higher rate is likely that riders in states with more lenient licensing laws, like California, often receive their license before having as much on-road instruction as they would in states requiring a longer probationary period.

To help supplement their skills, safety experts suggest that motorcyclists in the more lenient states complete additional instruction, such as classes given by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, before venturing out on the road.

Many other motorists on the road continue to fail to see motorcycles, making it even more important for motorcyclists’ safety that they obtain the experience they need before venturing out on California roads. Motorcyclists who have been injured in an accident should contact an experienced attorney. An attorney can advise you of your rights, help you document your injuries and pursue all compensation options on your behalf.

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