Even though motorcyclists riding high-performance bikes account for just a small percentage of all bikers nationwide, they are involved in a disproportionately high number of motorcycle accidents with fatalities. Statistics maintained by the Highway Loss Data Institute indicate that increased speed, operator inexperience and poor road conditions are the leading factors in the majority of high-performance motorcycle accident-related fatalities.
High-performance motorcycles are categorized as sport bikes or “supersport” bikes that were originally designed for racing by racing professionals. However, in recent years, manufacturers of these racing bikes have been slightly modifying the bikes’ design so they could be sold to consumers to be used on highways and roads nationwide.Supersport motorcycles are designed differently than traditional motorcycles and have higher horsepower ratings and lighter weight to help increase their capacity for speed.
Sports motorcycles are basically identical to supersport bikes in almost every way. However, they are built with a significant difference because they have a reduced “power to weight” ratio that limits their capacity for top speeds. However, both sport and supersport motorcycles are usually operated by men 33 years old and younger who tend to be looking for speed and excitement.
While the actual number of motorcycle deaths involving standard bikes and cruisers is higher than supersportbike deaths, the ratio of the fatalities for supersportbikers is disproportionately unbalanced. Statistically,supersport bike riders are four times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident compared to bikers riding standard or cruiser motorcycles.
Motorcycle Fatalities on the Rise
Over the course of the last decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of individuals dying in motorcycle crashes. In 2013, more than 4600 individuals lost their lives in motorcycle accidents and another 88,000 suffered injuries. This number is even more astounding when statistics reveal that bikers have a 26 times greater chance of dying in a crash and only five times as likely to suffer injuries compared to occupants in passenger vehicles.
Other key facts gathered from statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) include:
- There are over 8 million commercial and private motorcycles traveling the US highways and roads every year.
- Motorcycle accident-related deaths have increased by over 39 percent in riders and passengers that are 40 years and older. This means older riders now account for more than 55 percent of all motorcycle fatalities.
- Out of the more than 4600 motorcyclists killed in accidents in 2013, only six percent were passengers.
Bad Riding Behavior
Other factors that play a significant role in the number of motorcycle fatalities occurring every year in the United States include alcohol use, speeding, a lack of a valid license and the type of motorcycle the biker was riding was operating at the time of the accident.
Almost six out of every 10 fatality accidents in the United States involving super sport motorcycles were the result of speeding. This is compared to standard motorcycle and cruiser accident deaths that accounted for 27 percent of the total number of bike fatalities in 2013.
Reducing the Number of Deaths
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) along with motorcycle manufacturers and distributors work together to sponsor the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The foundation promotes improvements in motorcycle safety through training, education and licensing. These training courses have proven to be highly effective at promoting safety by recommending bikers always wear protective safety gear, especially certified helmets, identify their skill limits and always ride sober.
In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is pushing for all states and the District of Columbia to enact motorcycle helmet use laws that are known to reduce the number of motorcycle accident-related fatalities. This is important because statistics show that helmet usage is significantly higher in every state that enforces universal helmet use laws.
It is essential for everyone who owns a high-performance motorcycle to understand that engaging in any risky riding behavior can significantly increase their chances of dying in an accident. Many classic traditional bikes way upwards of 900 pounds or more and produce approximately 66 horsepower. Alternatively, high-performance motorcycles are geared to produce 160 horsepower, which increases its potential to travel at very high speeds that are known to kill.