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The risk of fatalities as a result of road accidents continues to elicit much public debate. While motor cycle riders account for a relatively small percentage of road users, they account for over 10% of the death toll in road accidents. Many pundits and motor cycle enthusiasts have downplayed the rate of motor cycle accidents alleging that they are to be expected of any motorized transport system. Motor vehicle riding as opposed to other road transport such as cars poses inherent and user based risks which increase the probability of fatalities and road accidents. While motor cycle riding and its risks is a controversial issue, it must be acknowledged that motor cycle riding poses a real danger to road users especially the riders.
Motor cycle riding is plagued by a high rate of riders who are inexperienced and who lack sufficient training with regard to riding and awareness of hazards. This is brought about by insufficient training that is usually offered by driving schools with regard to motor cycle riding. Driving schools tend to have shorter periods of training and certification for motor cycle riders as opposed to general class drivers. Motor cycle riders therefore tend to be less prepared in terms of road skills such as the reading of road signs and interpretation and reaction to hazards on the road. Motor cycles are also relatively cheap and hence they are acquired by young people who are inexperienced on driving rules which will mean, they will make more mistakes on the road and increase the probability of road accidents and fatalities.
Motor cycle riding is prone to be affected more by adverse road conditions. Adverse road conditions account for over a quarter of road accidents. For motor cycle riders, road conditions pose an even greater risk of accidents due to the nature of motor cycles. Drivers of cars usually find little trouble with potholes, gravel, and protrusion of tree branches. Issues of visibility such as fog and mist also affect motor cycle riding to a greater extent than other road users. Since the rider is uncovered he is exposed to the elements such as smoke and fog which negatively impacts on riding. Car drivers encountering such problems may find it easy to navigate their vehicles in such conditions given that vehicles are more stable having four wheels. Motor cycles are harder to control since they only have two wheels. Issues like instant braking and turning in order to avoid road hazard may prove hard and even result to accidents to motor cycles.
Motor cyclists are usually granted a lesser right of road usage relative to car drivers. The issue of equality in road usage by all road users is an issue which has raised a lot of controversy. Drivers of bigger vehicles usually treat smaller vehicles with disdain and tend to bully them on the road. This situation is repeated in the instance of cars and motor vehicle. Motor cycles are usually bullied in terms of overtaking and may even be pushed out of the road by the larger vehicles. Motor cycles due to their size are also exposed to a lack of awareness of other drivers of their presence on the road. This increases the risk of other road users driving into motor cycles or even interfering with the actions of motor cyclists without intending to. Actions by motor cyclists like over taking may not be noticed by large vehicles such as trucks which poses a risk to the motor cycle rider.
One of the acknowledged factors that result into accidents is the incidence of fatigue. While this is an acknowledged risk among car drivers, it has not received much attention with regard to motor cyclists. Motor cyclists tend to be even more prone to fatigue and extra exertion compared to car drivers. This is because riders are forced by the nature of riding to sit in a certain position which is tiring as opposed to car drivers who are capable of lowering or elevating their positions during driving. The issue of fatigue and exertion is further compounded by the open nature of motor cycle riding which exposes the driver to the elements. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is the nature of riding which in most instances occurs in groups and therefore the individual needs of members of such a touring party may not be taken into consideration making accidents more likely.
Motor cycle riding present certain psychological tendencies upon the rider which makes accidents more probable. Motor cycle riding leads to euphoric feelings in the rider particularly when riding is conducted in groups. Psychological research has indicated that riders of motor cycles are more prone to euphoric feeling during riding due to the exhilarating speeds and wind which have an unexplainable effect on the rider. People also tend to ride motor cycles in groups which heightens these euphoric feelings. Riders riding in a large group will more likely than not have higher euphoric feelings than riders riding alone. The instance of riding in a group inevitably leads to a herd mentality which makes riders more likely to disobey road signs and rules. This is the reason for the high incidence of accidents by motor cycle riding groups. While some riders may ride singly, the euphoric feelings are still more prevalent than those of drivers of cars due to the extraordinary effect of speed and exposure to the elements.
Motor cycling presents a higher rate of injury than other forms of vehicles in case of accidents. Motor cycles by their nature of being uncovered, make the rider to be exposed and unprotected in the instance of accidents. Drivers of other vehicles such as trucks and cars usually have protection from devices such as air bags, seat belts, and the cages that make up the vehicles body. Motor cycle riders on the other hand will be thrown over in an accident increasing their vulnerability. Motor cycle riders would also be exposed to possible injury due to contact with other vehicles on the road. Many of the accidents involving motor cycles usually result into serious injury and even death for the motor cyclists due to the inherent nature of the rider being unprotected.
Motor cycling presents a real danger to the life of a cyclist due to both its inherent characteristics and the attributes of the rider. Motor cycle riders are usually inexperienced due to a serious deficiency in their training as opposed to their counterparts who drive cars. This deficiency leads to the higher incidence of errors on the road increasing fatalities. Motor cyclists are more vulnerable to adverse road conditions such as low visibility and potholes as opposed to their vehicle counterparts due to the nature of motor cycles which makes stability and reaction more difficult. While some of the risks associated with motor cycling such as bullying are due to attitudes \, some such as a lack of awareness of motor cyclist by other drivers are inherent to the motor cycle and are impossible to modify. Issues of fatigue of the rider are also hard to modify and will ultimately result into accidents for the rider. Motor cycle riding is thus a dangerous form of activity whether undertaken for fun or as a means of transport. It would thus be advisable for any person who can avoid them to do so.