Crotch Rockets vs. Cruisers: Why Are Supersport Bikes More Dangerous?
Riding a motorcycle will always come with some types of risks. Since motorcycles aren’t enclosed vehicles, they don’t have as many safety features as regular cars, like airbags and seatbelts. Motorcycles are also less visible than passenger vehicles, so many accidents occur when drivers fail to see motorcyclists on the road. Changes in road conditions can also pose a bigger threat to motorcyclists than it can to drivers and passengers in cars and trucks. Things like wet roads, sticks/branches in the road, and gravel or sand in the road can easily cause a motorcyclist to lose control of their bike and crash.
If you enjoy riding a motorcycle, there are lots of things you can do to stay safe on the road. Of course, choosing the right safety gear will provide valuable protection if you get into a motorcycle accident. Even if you aren’t required by law to wear a motorcycle helmet, wearing one could help save your life. There are also many benefits to taking a motorcycle safety class, including the fact that they can help you learn techniques and build skills that will help you stay safe when you ride.
Choosing the right kind of bike is also important in helping you stay safe. Not only do you need to find one that’s the right size for you and isn’t too heavy for you to operate safely, you also have to keep in mind that there are several different types of motorcycles out there and some are involved in a higher rate of fatal accidents than others.
Supersport motorcycles represent a fairly small number of registered motorcycles in the United States, but they’re involved in a disproportionately high number of fatal motorcycle accidents. According to the IIHS, supersport bikes accounted for less than 10% of registered motorcycles in 2005, but were involved in over 25% of rider deaths. Since these bikes are smaller and more lightweight, it’s easy for them to quickly reach high speeds, which makes them more attractive to younger riders. In 2005, speed was cited as a factor in 57% of fatal supersport motorcycle accidents, whereas it was a factor in 27% of accidents involving cruisers and 22% of accidents involving touring motorcycles.
Because of the lightweight design of supersport bikes, some people feel like they’re easier to handle than other types of bikes, but they typically perform worse in bad weather. If it starts to rain or the road is still wet from a recent rainstorm, supersport motorcycles are more likely to skid than heavier types of motorcycles. Supersport bikes are also designed to have the rider in a forward-leaning position with lower handlebars, so in the event of an accident, the rider is more likely to go flying forward.
Cruisers and “standard” motorcycles, on the other hand, actually have the lowest rate of fatalities. The larger, heavier design of cruisers gives them some advantages in helping protect the rider. For one thing, they have a fender and in the event of an accident, that fender will hit the ground before the rider, helping lessen the impact. Cruisers also may not be able to turn as tightly or as quickly as a supersport bike, but they’re better at handling wet roads. They also have heavier engines and more safety features, such as anti-lock braking systems.
If you’re shopping for your first motorcycle, be sure to take the time to research the various types of motorcycles that are out there. Choosing the right type of motorcycle can help give you another layer of protection on the road.