While motorcycling is an exciting and rewarding hobby among millions of Americans, every novice rider needs to hone his or her riding skills and safety knowledge before learning how to customize a motorcycle. But once a rider has the essentials of motorcycle safety down, he or she can feel free to go crazy with as many aftermarket motorcycle parts the need for customizing motorcycles.
According to recent data, there were approximately nine million registered motorcycles in the United States during 2012. Despite the rise in the number of registered motorcycles, the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Association statistics show a decrease in motorcycle accidents since 2011. At a superficial glance, it appears that the overwhelming majority of motorcycle riders have become more mindful of motorcycle safety, or maybe more are making the wise decision to wear helmets. But this isn’t the case.
Although the decrease in motorcycle-related accidents is good news, it can also be deceiving. This is because the number of motorcycle accident fatalities actually increased during 2012. What is the reason for this inverse correlation between number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities? Is it due to an increase in unsafe riding? Are there more riders not wearing helmets? Or is it a combination of these and other factors?
It might be hard to believe, but only 20 states in the U.S. have in place universal motorcycle helmet laws, while 28 states require only young riders and passengers under age 20 to wear helmets. Two states, Illinois and Iowa, have no helmet laws, even though wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of fatal accidents by about 37%.
This isn’t intended to ruin all the fun for riders who have their hearts set on learning how to customize a motorcycle. But it is merely to stress the importance of remember the basic rules that will help them to be safe, and enjoy their custom made motorcycles. After all, no rider is going to enjoy the freedom of the road from a hospital bed.