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The Risks of Owning a Motorcycle

Motorcycles provide riders the opportunity to cruise along an open road with the setting sun at their backs while wind whips along all sides of them. For many, it’s a breath of freedom that isn’t available anywhere else. But idealistic imagery aside, is driving a motorcycle worth the potential risk?

Types of Motorcycles Fit Different Motorcyclists

There are three main categories of motorcycles: cruiser, touring, and sport. They each have two wheels, handlebars, and the same internal motor parts, but they serve different functions.

For first-time riders looking for a bike to take out on the road, cruisers may be your best option. Not only are they commonly available, but these types of motorcycles are typically on the lower end of the cost spectrum. From simple upright bikes to low-down choppers, there’s plenty in this category to choose from.

Touring motorcycles are designed for (you guessed it!) touring. They offer the most comfortable ride for long distances, but they come with a heftier investment. These types of motorcycles are great for riders who plan to travel farther than just between home and work. With more storage space than other types of bikes, these are great for weekend getaways in any direction.

Sportbikes are the sleek, fast rides you might imagine come off the set of a Fast and Furious film. These are for the adrenaline junky who enjoys a powerful engine. But with great speed comes great risk. Sportbikes are among the most dangerous motorcycles to own, although it’s not clear whether the danger comes from the speed of the bike or the riskiness of the rider. It may be a combination of the two.

The Cost of Owning a Motorcycle

While motorcycles don’t typically cost as much as a car, they neither provide the same amount of stabilization and safety. A four-walled cage isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when it could be what protects you in an auto accident.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price on a new motorcycle can range from less than $5,000 to over $200,000 (yes, $200,000). Within that range is plenty of space and many bikes to check out. If you’re not willing to purchase new—considering it may be your first motorcycle and you’re still just learning your preferences—there are many used bikes on the market.

There are some benefits to purchasing a new motorcycle: less initial maintenance, more reliable parts, and a shiny paint job. When buying a used bike, you may have to drop a few hundred (or more) to get it into shape for the road.

Regardless of which option you go with, motorcycles can cost more to maintain than a car since they require service and maintenance more often. Tires can be especially expensive, costing about $400 to $600 a pair, which should be replaced every 4,000 to 11,000 miles, depending on your riding style.

Gasoline is often less expensive for motorcycles since they can get a higher number of miles per gallon. On average, cars get 23.6 miles per gallon, while the average motorcycle gets about 50 to 60 miles per gallon. That’s over twice as many miles for the same amount of gasoline, or better, less than half the price of a single gallon of fuel.

Motorcycle Safety

After picking up the new ride, outfitting it with any after-market parts you’ve had your eye on or touching up the paint, you should plan to purchase riding gear. This consists of at least a helmet, jacket, and gloves, although many riders opt for a special pair of pants and jacket for the added protection.

Although motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet while riding in all states, it’s a good idea to wear one anyway. In Florida, motorcyclists over the age of 21 only need to wear a helmet if they are not covered by insurance for at least $10,000.00 in medical benefits for injuries caused by a crash while operating the motorcycle.

A helmet with decent eye protection can cost about $300 to $600, depending on the style. Other protective gear may cost about $600 or more. In the event of an accident, there will only be a few layers between your skin and hot asphalt. The layers you choose matter, and the money spent on them will be worth saving your life.

Insurance Coverage for a Motorcycle

Like all insurance coverage, premiums are mainly based on your age and past driving history, the city you live in, how often you drive, and where you park your motorcycle.

Even then, the cost of insurance coverage for a motorcycle is usually less expensive than for a car, all other factors being equal. The state of Florida doesn’t require that motorcyclists carry insurance coverage as long as they can prove financial responsibility.

An alternative to the Florida minimum coverage of $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury and $10,000 property damage liability requirement is a self-insurance certification. It requires that motorcyclists prove an available net worth of at least $40,000 with a notarized financial statement.

When the average motorcycle insurance premium in Florida is only $57 a month, it’s best to avoid the paperwork and purchase coverage when you buy your first motorcycle. You’ll also save yourself the hassle of paying for your own or another person’s injuries and property damage if you are involved in an accident.

Inherent Risks of Injury and Motorcycle Accidents

The cost of owning a motorcycle may be less than the cost of owning a car, but when it comes to protection from serious injury or death, a car is the definite winner between the two.

Motorcycle accidents may not be more common than other types of accidents, but the risk of a motorcyclist suffering serious, if not fatal, injury is much higher than for other drivers. In 2006, there were 35 times more deaths from motorcycle accidents than from car accidents. That’s a major difference that even half the price of gasoline doesn’t meet.

Some of the most common motorcycle accidents include head-on collisions, crashes caused by a driver switching lanes, road hazards, and left-turn accidents. Not all accidents can be prevented by good driving; many accidents are caused by another driver.

Common Motorcycle Accident Causes

Like car accidents, motorcycle accidents deal with the same factors that increase the likelihood of a collision occurring. The most common cause among these is distracted driving most often in the form of smartphone use although many other distracting behaviors such as eating while driving, rubbernecking, smoking, etc. while driving also causes their fair share of accidents. Naturally, this is mostly due to the car drivers as opposed to motorcyclists who have fewer ways to be distracted. Other shared common risk factors for accidents shared between motorcycles and cars include things such as drunk driving, road rage, inclement weather, low light, and rough roads. On the other hand, motorcyclists also have to deal with their own set of unique risk factors that can make driving a motorcycle more dangerous than a car and give pause to those considering using this means of transportation. Motorcyclists unlike the drivers of larger motor vehicles have to deal with the issue of low visibility. Motorcycles are regularly hit purely because drivers do not see them. Either a motorcycle is in a blind spot or they fail to notice a bike at the edge of their vision when they are making a turn or merging lanes. The small size and profile of a motorcycle is unfortunately easy to miss which leads to many easily avoidable collisions. Motorcycles also can lose control much more easily in certain conditions compared to vehicles with larger and more wheels. Dangerous wet weather can be much more dangerous for motorcyclists and gravel or similarly rough road conditions easily handled by larger vehicles can be much more dangerous for motorcycles.

The decision to buy a motorcycle and enjoy the freedom it can provide is completely your own, but there’s a necessary balance between risky and reckless. We hope you hit the roads well aware of where you stand.

 Seek a Skilled Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a Florida motorcycle accident and need to recover for your injuries, contact the experienced attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. We have taken on and successfully recovered damages for countless motorcycle accident victims who needed their rights protected and bills paid. We offer a free consultation where we will examine the circumstances of your case, provide you with options, and help you to take the next step. At Dolman Law, our goal is to simply be personable and effective. We look forward to working with you.

You can call our office at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online for a free consultation on your claim.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 5924 Main Street New Port Richey, FL 34652 (727) 477-9660

New Port Richey Motorcycle Accident Attorney