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Inexperienced riders most likely to be in motorcycle crashes

According to a new set of studies, a motorcyclist is at the highest risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident during his or her first year on the road. In fact, that risk is the highest during the motorcyclist's first 30 days of riding, which are an average of four times more dangerous than his or her entire second year on the bike.

This data is not entirely surprising, says one of the study researchers. He says that most motorcycle accidents involving new riders are the product of the motorcyclist's lack of experience on a complicated machine. For example, motorcyclists must simultaneously perform at least six actions to simply pull out on a hill: brake, balance on one foot, feather the throttle, shift the gear, release the clutch, and watch for oncoming traffic. This can be a lot to handle for even the most experienced riders.

Interestingly, the study also states that motorcycle education courses may not lower the rider's chances of being involved in a crash during those first days and months on the bike. In fact, such courses may actually increase the accident risk. Researchers reportedly found that, in the U.S. states that require training programs for new riders under the age of 21, accident insurance claims were about 10 percent higher than states without such requirements.

Researchers believe that the higher crash rate is because the training courses often fast-track a rider to the road, reducing the amount of time and other requirements for the rider to become fully licensed.

Source: The Republic, "Motorcycle crash risk drops sharply after the first month on the road," Michael Virtanen, April 15, 2012

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