Your First Month on Your New Motorcycle Is Fraught With Peril
When are riders at the greatest risk of suffering a collision and injury?
According to the most recent safety studies, the most dangerous stretch of time for a motorcyclist is the first year they being riding, and the greatest danger occurs during the first month they climb on their bikes. The results of yet another study suggest that licensing courses designed to cut down process of learning to ride not only fail to to lower the risk of a crash, they might even make the situation worse.
The Highway Loss Data Institute study says 22 percent of the nearly 57,000 collision claims filed between 2003 and 2007 happened within the first 30 days of a new motorcycle insurance policy being purchased. That claim rate dropped by a full third during the second month of a policy taking effect and dropped another two-thirds after the policy was in place for six months.
More sobering news for new riders?
Somewhat more than half of insurance claims filed by riders of sport bikes took place during the first three months of their riders buying a policy, and analysis of state-required rider training programs – at least for riders under 21 in California, Florida, Idaho and Oregon – discovered that collision claims were 10 percent higher for riders in those states as compared with riders in the twenty-eight states which don’t have such requirements.
According to the Institute for Highway Safety, “Although this difference isn’t statistically significant, it contradicts the notion that motorcycle training courses reduce crashes.”
Does that mean you shouldn’t take a rider safety course? No way, Jose.
The nonprofit Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a basic rider course in 48 states, and it surely can’t hurt to take one if you’re a neophyte rider. The MSF has schooled more than 6 million riders – a number that includes some 400,000 last year alone.
“We say we improve knowledge, skill sets and increase awareness,” says Director of Training Systems, Ray Oakes. “We can fix the ignorance part. We can’t fix stupid.”
Federal data indicates that U.S. motorcycle deaths peaked in 2008 (at 5,312) and that number represents a %100 increase over the course of the previous decade. The rise in deaths on the road is largely thought to be a result of increased numbers of baby boomers taking to their bikes for the first time.
Fatalities fell off to 4,309 in 2010.