This is a very good question. It is true that motorcycles are perceived as unsafe, and for good reason: the rate of fatal crashes involving motorcycles is 55.82 per 100,000 motorcycles; in cars it’s 18.06 out of 100,000. But is it really the design of motorcycles that is to blame? Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars. If you get in an accident on a motorcycle, simply because you’re not in an enclosed space like a car, the chances of serious injury is greater. But from the limited studies done on motorcycle crashes (shockingly, the last major one in the US dates from 1981) it appears that car drivers failing to see motorcyclists is the number one cause of motorcycle-related accidents. So what’s the answer, then? Is it redesigning motorcycles to make them easier to see, or adding safety features? Experiments have been done with airbags in motorcycles, and they have shown the potential to save many lives. Yamaha and Suzuki are soon coming out with motorcycles that include airbags. Is there a possibility for a comprehensive redesign of the motorcycle in general so as to increase safety? Short of turning it into a car, I’m not sure there is.
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