Motorcycle Facts

A motorcycle is considered to be any two or three wheeled motorized vehicle. It is estimated that there are about four million motorcycles registered in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many people choose to ride motorcycles because they are a more fuel-efficient mode of transportation than cars or trucks. Many people also value the feeling of freedom and adventure that riding a motorcycle can provide.

Motorcycle Safety and Maintenance

While a motorcycle can provide entertainment as well as transportation, it is imperative to follow laws and keep up on motorcycle maintenance in order to ensure a safe ride. Most accidents that result in fatalities are alcohol-related. Alcohol affects balance and coordination, so motorcyclists may be impaired by just a small amount of alcohol. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of fatality from a motorcycle accident, and wearing other motorcycle gear such as a motorcycle jacket, leather boots, and heavier pants can greatly reduce the risk of critical and costly injuries. Although the law does not require riders to wear helmets in all states, helmets save thousands of lives each year. Helmet use has increased in recent years.

All motorcycle owners are responsible for maintaining their motorcycles, and may be liable if worn or damaged parts cause an accident. Motorcycle brakes are particularly essential, and they need to be replaced before wear and tear interferes with stopping power. Worn seats and grips may irritate rider’s bodies and make the motorcycle more difficult to control. Cracked or missing mirrors pose a hazard as riders cannot see what is behind the motorcycle, so reaction time is greatly reduced.

Motorcycle Training

New motorcyclists should receive training before their first ride. There are motorcycle training courses that will instruct new riders on techniques to avoid accidents, tips for riding in different weather conditions, and laws that may vary by state. Training courses can be helpful for new riders, but the courses can also help veteran riders to brush up on skills and learn new safety precautions.

Many states have made it necessary to obtain a motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license in order to legally ride. A training course must be taken, and a test must be passed before a motorcycle license or endorsement is issued. The states that have passed stricter motorcycle laws have seen decreases in the number of motorcycle accidents on roadways, especially fatal accidents.


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“2011 Motorcycle Fatalities Quick Facts.” Motorcycle Rider Training Program Illinois Department of Transportation. Illinois Department of Transportation, n.d. Web. 1 Oct 2013. < SAFETY AT A GLANCE_2011 Fatalities.pdf>.

“Motorcycles.” NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration., n.d. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <>.

“State Laws.” American Motorcyclist Association. American Motorcyclist Association, n.d. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <>.