In June 2012, a 37-year-old man, just about to retire as a Marine, was riding his motorcycle in North Carolina. It was dark, in the early morning hours, and the North Carolina Highway Patrol said he took a turn too fast and caused his motorcycle to flip on a ramp going towards westbound US 70. The man was ejected off his motorcycle and struck a sign. He sustained fatal injuries.
The cause of the motorcycle accident is unclear. Weather was not a factor, and a toxicology report was requested. Since the results of the toxicology test are not known, it is possible alcohol or drugs could have played a factor. Another possibility is driver error. This type of mistake, turning too quickly causing the motorcycle to become off-balance and flip, is one that may be due to driver inexperience.
Frequent Accidents Among Beginning Motorcycle Riders
Operating a motorcycle is no easy task. It requires balance and a thorough understanding of the vehicle's controls and capabilities. Motorcycle riders need to know correct braking technique and how to properly shift gears and release the clutch. Riders must also constantly watch for traffic and hazards on the road.
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, during their first 30 days on a motorcycle, riders are at about four times greater risk for accidents than their entire second year riding. A study by the Institute also found that 22 percent of claims occurred in the first 30 days of an insurance policy. The rate declines by a third in the second month and by nearly two-thirds in six months.
Somewhat surprisingly, motorcycle crash claims were 10 percent higher in those states with state-required training programs. This seems to suggest that training courses do not effectively reduce motorcycle collisions. This is perhaps because after such courses, riders are often fully licensed. In contrast, in states without such programs riders may have a longer learning period with a preliminary permit.
Whatever the reason that beginning motorcycle riders are at high risk for accidents, it is important that new riders take proper precautions, wear appropriate safety gear and do not attempt to ride beyond their skill level.