Surge in Female Motorcyclists Underscores Gender-Specific Motorcycle Safety Concerns

Recent data from the Motorcycle Industry Council reveals more women are operating motorcycles than ever before – and the trend shows no sign of slowing. And while West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyers know women tend to be safer riders, there are also some crash injury risks that tend to be specific to/ more common among female operators and passengers.West Palm Beach motorcycle accident attorney

USA Today reported that in 1998, just 8 percent of motorcycle owners were women. By 2018, that figure more than doubled to 19 percent. The Drive reveals the majority of female motorcycle riders skewed younger, with women comprising 26 percent of Millenial-age riders and 22 percent of Gen Xers. The median age of female motorcyclists is 39, compared to 48 for men. Women appear mostly interested in cruisers (34 percent) followed by scooters (33 percent) and then sport bikes (10 percent). All-female motorcycle clubs have even grown increasingly popular.

Increasing gender equality in motorcycling overall has made the transport mode safer, given MIC’s assertions that female riders are 60 percent more likely to take safety courses and 14 percent more likely to wear a helmet than men and less likely to drive drunk or speed. Further, the more people in general there are on motorcycles, the safer all motorcyclists are because the greater the odds other will look twice, having become accustomed to sharing the road with them.

Types of Injuries Sustained by Women in South Florida Motorcycle Accidents

Although injuries aren’t gender discriminate, depending far more on the specifics of the crash (type of bike, type of collision, speed at impact, helmet use, etc.), there are some injury patterns that tend to be more common among female motorcycle operators.  A 2017 study in the gender differences in motorcycle-related injuries published in Biomedical Journal revealed female motorcycle accident victims sustained much higher rates of injuries to extremities, while suffering lower rates of injuries to the neck, head, face and thorax than male motorcyclists. The severity of female riders’ injuries was also lower on the whole, with fewer female motorcycle operators landing in the intensive care unit (ICU), or when they did, having stays that were substantially shorter than men.

When women were passengers (mostly with male operators) they faced greater risk of injury – often the same levels as the male motorcycle operators, even as they retained less control of the bikes. From 1996 to 2007, women motorcycle passenger injuries accounted for 90 percent of overall injuries to women on motorcycles, according to the National Center for Statistical Analysis. That figure as shifting as women become increasingly in control of the bikes themselves.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported in 2016 that women accounted for 9 percent of total motorcycle accident deaths, but 68 percent of all motorcycle passenger deaths.

Riding with a passenger requires significantly more skill than simply riding alone, which is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends holding off on doing so until one has taken a safety course and also has enough solo ride time under their belt to take on the responsibility of carrying a passenger. (Passengers who are impaired or a distraction can influence the odds that a motorcycle operator will wreck.) The NHTSA suggests that motorcycle passengers play a much larger safety role than they are typically credited, often influencing critical decisions such as helmet use and speed choice. Analysis showed that with a passenger aboard, motorcycle riders wore a helmet nearly 60 percent of the time. However, when the passenger didn’t wear a helmet, riders only wore them 5 percent of the time.

Whether you are a motorcycle operator or passenger, injury or wrongful death in a motorcycle crash may entitle victims to compensation through a number of legal avenues. As long-time West Palm Beach motorcycle accident attorneys, we can offer information on insurance claims and more.

Contact the South Florida motorcycle accident injury attorneys at David J. Halberg, P.A., Attorneys at Law, by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Nearly Twice as Many Women Are Riding Motorcycles Compared to a Decade Ago. Dec. 4, 2018, By Eric Brandt, The Drive

More Blog Entries:

West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, Nov. 26, 2011, West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney Blog