Making Bike Week a Safe Week
A sure sign of spring…it’s Bike Week in Daytona. What started as a motorcycle race along the beach in 1937 has morphed into a 10-day festival, bringing thousands to Volusia County. Bike Week—and every week—is a time for giving consideration to the two-wheelers on our roads.
There are a lot of registered motorcycles in Florida, more than 628,000 of them. That gives Florida the #2 slot, behind California, in the number of motorcycle riders. Ownership of motorcycles is also on the rise, as people look for less expensive ways to get around, considering the high cost of gas. But owning a motorcycle sometimes does carry a high cost. According to an analysis of motorcycle crash trends in Florida, registered motorcycle riders account for less than 4 percent of drivers and nearly 19 percent of all traffic fatalities. The analysis by the Center for Urban Transportation and Research at the University of South Florida relays that factors such as population and proximity to motorcycle rallies are reasons for increases in motorcycle crashes and fatalities. So, if you’re going to Bike Week and events like it, proceed with caution.
How much more dangerous is it to ride a motorcycle than in a car? Statistics on motorcycle crashes are scary – and not surprising. A motorcyclist is about 30 times more likely to die in a crash per mile driven than someone in a car. Driver behavior, of course, has much to do with motorcycle injuries and fatalities, specifically alcohol use or failure to wear a helmet. Those two behaviors are linked because motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were more likely to have blood alcohol levels over the legal limit and less likely to be wearing a helmet.
Bike Week is a blast. No doubt about it. And, the organizers have put together a “Survival Guide.” I didn’t see any safety tips on the website. Maybe everybody knows this stuff?