Evel Knievel’s Broken Bones

Evel Knievel is known for his crazy motorcycle stunts, and he is one of the most iconic celebrities of the 1970s. In the 60s & 70s he attempted over 70 motorcycle jumps & is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the person with the “most bones broken in a lifetime”. He broke 433 bones during his career, an insane amount.

For all of us mere mortals, we should heed these motorcycle safety statistics as provided by Allen & Allen.

Motorcycles may be a fun and efficient way to get around, but they can also be very dangerous. General high speeds and the exposure of the rider to direct contact with the road in the event of a crash all contribute to motorcycle injury and death rates being much higher than most other forms of transportation. The National Highway Safety Administration has compiled some disturbing statistics:

  • There are about 4 million motorcycles registered in America. In 2004, 4008 motorcyclists were killed in America. That means that one in every 1,000 motorcycles in America was involved in a fatal crash in 2004 alone.[1]
  • Per mile traveled, the chance of a motorcycle being involved in a fatal crash is about 35 times greater than the chance of a passenger car being involved in a crash.
  • Motorcycles account for only 2% of road traffic, yet they are involved in more than 5% of accidents.
  • Due to the unprotected position of the motorcyclist, more than 80% of motorcycle crashes result in at least some injury. For passenger cars, only 20% of crashes cause injuries.[2]

Although these statistics seem very discouraging, a number of recent innovations have helped reduce injuries and make motorcycles a safer mode of transportation. For example, one major problem with motorcycles has always been their small size and consequent low visibility. Studies of motorcycle accidents revealed that many drivers never even saw the biker they hit. For this reason, most motorcycles now come with headlights that automatically turn on when the bike is started. This helps increase the motorcycle’s presence and visibility on the road.

New innovations in airbags are also helping to save lives. Airbags on the fuel tank and body of the motorcycle have been standard for decades, but in recent years many riders have begun wearing special vests that deploy as another airbag in the event of a crash. These vests have been shown to significantly reduce injury in the event of a crash.[3]

It is important to remember that these new safety innovations cannot replace safe and responsible riding. There is no substitute for a driver who knows and follows the rules of the road. Motorcycles may be dangerous, but they can be safely enjoyed.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle_safety

[2] For more information on motorcycle accident statistics please visit the NHTSA’s Motorcycle Accident Fact Website at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810990.PDF

[3] http://www.bikebone.com/Air-Vest-Motorcycle-Airbag-Hit-Air.htm


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