Minnesota has about 203,521 registered motorcycles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They include choppers, standard motorcycles, cruisers, sport touring models and other types.
Regardless of bike type, motorcyclists face a heightened risk of injuries when sharing the road with drivers of cars.
One of the primary challenges motorcyclists contend with is their reduced visibility compared to larger vehicles. Motorcycles possess a smaller profile and may easily slip into blind spots, rendering them momentarily invisible to car drivers. The failure of car drivers to recognize a motorcycle near them often leads to abrupt lane changes or turns, endangering the motorcyclist in the path of an oblivious driver.
The size discrepancy between motorcycles and cars exacerbates the potential for severe injuries. In collisions between the two, motorcyclists are at a distinct disadvantage, no matter the type of bike they ride.
The lack of protective barriers, such as the chassis of a car, exposes riders to direct impact forces. Even at moderate speeds, such collisions can result in serious injuries for motorcyclists, who lack the protective cocoon that car occupants enjoy.
Road surface hazards
Motorcycles are more susceptible to the influence of road surface conditions. Gravel, potholes or wet surfaces that might be inconsequential to a car can prove treacherous for a motorcyclist. A minor road imperfection that a car absorbs easily can result in loss of control for a motorcycle, leading to a potential accident.
Car driver negligence and inattention
In many cases, accidents involving motorcycles and cars stem from the negligence or inattention of car drivers. Failure to check blind spots, distracted driving and disregard for traffic rules can all contribute to collisions with motorcyclists. The consequences of such lapses are often severe, as the smaller, more exposed nature of motorcycles magnifies the impact of any collision.
Heightened awareness, adherence to traffic rules and mutual respect between motorcyclists and car drivers are necessary elements in mitigating the risks that motorcyclists face.