What Are the Safest vs. Most Dangerous Types of Motorcycles to Ride
Motorcycle riding offers a sense of freedom and thrill that is unparalleled, but it also carries inherent risks. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than automobile drivers.
Safety for motorcyclists is influenced by the design of the bikes they ride, their stability, speed capabilities, and how they are used. For instance, sport and supersport motorcycles are designed for high-speed and aggressive riding, increasing their risk. Others, like touring and standard motorcycles, are designed for stability and comfort, making them a safer option.
Learn which motorcycles can be dangerous and which are ideal for a pleasant and safer riding experience.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in 2020 across the U.S., accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities. This figure represents the highest number of motorcyclist deaths recorded since FARS began tracking data in 1975. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 2,104 motorcycle accidents in 2020 resulted in 1,796 injuries and 112 deaths.
Every type of motorcycle poses dangers, which can include:
- Lack of Structural Protection
A lack of protection in traffic accidents leaves motorcycle riders vulnerable to severe injuries. Motorcycle riders are exposed to their surroundings and have no safety features such as seatbelts and airbags to protect them from collisions.
- Reduced Visibility
Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars, making it harder for other drivers to see them on the road. Motorcycles can be hard to see due to their slender, two-wheeled silhouette. Their small size also makes them appear farther away than other vehicles, making drivers misjudge their timing when pulling out in front of them.
- Maneuverability Challenges
Motorcycles require more physical strength, balance, and coordination to maneuver compared to four-wheeled vehicles. For instance, navigating curves or turns at excessive speeds can be challenging because riders must control their motorcycle and maintain a steady pace. Riders with little experience handling a motorcycle have a higher risk of being involved in a fatal crash.
The risk associated with a motorcycle largely depends on how it is ridden and the rider’s skill level. Some types of motorcycles are associated with higher rates of accidents and severe injuries due to their design and typical usage.
- Supersport Bikes
A supersport motorcycle, such as a superbike or naked motorcycle, is built on a racing platform, making it riskier than other types of motorcycles. They’re built on racing bike frames and equipped with high-performance engines designed for maximum performance and speed, reaching speeds of almost 190 mph.
These motorcycles’ aerodynamic designs and seating positions promote an aggressive and streamlined posture for riders. Due to their performance capabilities and the tendency to encourage a bold riding style, riders take additional risks, making them more prone to accidents.
Supersport motorcycles constitute a small portion of all registered motorcycles, but their riders are more likely to be in fatal accidents. A previous study showed that the number of fatalities for supersport motorcycle drivers was four times higher than for cruiser and standard motorcycle riders. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 1,169 people died in supersport motorcycle accidents in 2021.
- High-Performance Sports Bikes
Sports bikes don’t have the same quick acceleration, stability, and handling as their supersport counterparts. However, riders may still have difficulty handling and controlling them as sports bikes are meant for riding with speed and agility. The IIHS reported 738 fatal crashes involving sports bikes in 2021.
Other motorcycles can offer an enjoyable ride with moderate engine sizes and well-positioned riding positions. Beginners and riders who want to experience a safer riding experience may want to consider these motorcycles:
- Standard Motorcycles
Standard motorcycles or roadster bikes provide a comfortable riding position and good visibility. Their moderate engine sizes offer enough power for various situations without tempting less-experienced riders into pushing their limits.
The Highway Loss Data Institute has reported that standard motorcycles and cruiser bikes have the lowest rate of fatal accidents compared to other motorcycle categories. Their user-friendly design and ease of handling make them a safer choice, especially for those new to motorcycling.
- Cruisers and Large Touring Bikes
Cruisers and touring bikes provide a relaxed and enjoyable riding experience with their laid-back riding positions and wider handlebars. Designed for long-distance travel, these bikes have various safety features such as anti-lock brakes, stability control, and often advanced tech like traction control systems. Their large size makes them more visible to other road users.
Cruisers are the most popular type of motorcycle, making up 40% of all registered bikes in 2021. When comparing death rates based on registrations, the IIHS found that cruisers, along with standard, touring, and sport-touring motorcycles, have the lowest rates of fatalities.
When choosing a motorcycle for a safe and enjoyable ride, safety must be your priority. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, seeking the guidance of a Fox Cities motorcycle accident attorney is essential for protecting your rights.
At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we understand the dangers riders face with other road users. We will work on your behalf to negotiate with insurers to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.