Anyone who rides knows there's risk involved. People can talk about the need for safety all day long, but true understanding comes when there's nothing between you and the Dallas streets. It's a risk Harley-Davidson® riders are willing to take for the thrill of the open road and the freedom to experience life without barriers.
In reality, you're more likely to be in a car crash than you are in a motorcycle accident. However, as you probably know, your chance of being injured if you do have a wreck is much greater.
During this time of year, the number of motorcycle accidents increases. We want to raise awareness so everyone who comes in contact with our dealership enjoys the season in safety.
WHY THE HOLIDAYS COME WITH INCREASED RISK
There are several reasons why more people have motorcycle accidents on holidays than any other time of the year.
- People have time off work. They often celebrate by riding more miles than normal.
- There are more vehicles on the road overall. Congestion increases everyone's impatience.
- Vehicle drivers are traveling places they don't normally go. They're unfamiliar with unexpected turns and road hazards. They're more likely to drive distracted, talking to back seat passengers or looking at maps on their cell phones.
- Drivers are more likely to drink at holiday parties and events, then drive home.
- Weather conditions tend to be worse than they are on summer holidays.
- The holidays cause fatigue and stress, both of which can impair driving reflexes.
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks motorcycle and vehicle accidents and releases statistics to the public. They run a year behind, so the most current statistics at the time of this writing were released last year. It's an interesting chart if you want to compare national statistics for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, pedestrians and so on since 1994. There's been a steady accident rate increase in almost all areas.
About 30 percent of motorcycle fatalities occur in California, Texas and Florida. That's partly because those states have the highest number of motorcyclists. They also are more likely to have weather warm enough to ride during the holiday season. Texas also has more open road and stunning scenery than smaller states that get buried in snow by December.
These are the statistics we really want you to focus on:
- In 2017, 204 Texas motorcycle fatalities happened on rural roads vs. 301 in urban areas.
- 24.8 percent of the fatalities in California, Texas and Florida were indicated as under the influence at the time of their wreck.
- 42 percent of accidents between a motorcycle and a car happened when the car was making a left-hand turn.
- 52 percent of motorcyclists who died in 2017 weren't wearing helmets when they had their accident.
TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE HOLIDAYS 2018
The stats are sobering, no pun intended. The good news is, they give insight into what you can do to stay safe. Since more crashes happen in urban areas than on back roads, be extra vigilant in Dallas traffic. You know not to drink and drive, but also be aware other drivers are more likely to be driving under the influence.
Watch out for the possibility of left-turn crashes. These often happen when a car is pulling out from a side street. Stay within the speed limit so they don't conclude wrongly they have enough time to enter their lane. Assume if a car is in the turning lane the driver doesn't see you. Constantly scan for exits in case a vehicle driver does something stupid. If a car is stationary, watch its front tires to see which way they're turned. Watch for even the slightest forward momentum until you are completely past.
Note the statistic on fatalities when the motorcyclist rides without a helmet. Even if you don't wear one the rest of the year, give your loved ones the gift of your safety by using this added protection for a season. Plus, you'll be warmer.
Dallas Harley-Davidson® in Garland, Texas has riding essentials designed with you in mind. Stop by and let us check your helmet for fit, age and wear. We can also show you the top safety must-haves for winter weather. Get in touch to find out more.