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Basem Wasef

Supersport Riders Over Three Times More Likely to Die

By September 13, 2007

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YamahaR6 Though revered for their acceleration, stopping power, and maneuverability, supersport bikes-- street motorcycles based on racing platforms-- were heavily criticized in a recent Insurance Institute of Highway Safety report. The press release not only mentions that motorcycle fatalities in general have more than doubled between 1996 and 2006, but that supersport riders are almost four times more likely to die in road accidents.

IIHS research VP Anne McCartt says, [Supersport] bikes made up less than 10 percent of registered motorcycles in 2005 but accounted for over 25 percent of rider deaths. Supersports also lead in insurance losses: the Honda CBR1000RR, for example, is more than 12 times more likely to be stolen than the average motorcycle.

Other types of bikes have significantly lower fatality statistics per 10,000 riders, though the study also finds that "alcohol impairment was an even bigger factor in the fatal crashes of cruisers and standard bikes and touring motorcycles, particularly among riders 30-49 years old."

With irresponsible sportbike riding having recently made headlines and a web rumor suggests that a 100 horsepower limit might be imposed on motorcycles in France, one can't help but wonder if this golden age of affordable, hyperfast supersports might start to see a decline.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Photo Yamaha
Comments
September 13, 2007 at 4:36 pm
(1) DaveM123 says:

There has been a rather spirited post in the forum on this. See the USA Today subject.

September 13, 2007 at 5:16 pm
(2) Scottie says:

None of this should be even slightly surprising to anyone that has seen sport bikes pop wheelies in heavy traffic at 70+ mph or driven by a bar with a slew of cruisers out front. Cagers do a fine job of killing us off without us adding additional risk.

September 13, 2007 at 11:23 pm
(3) Nate says:

Unless those statistics include miles traveled, they’re meaningless. Yes, as it turns out, if all you do with your cruiser is ride it to Starbucks on Sunday, you’re likely to not die much.

In breaking news: riding the couch all day has a startlingly low death rate.

September 14, 2007 at 9:36 am
(4) Kram says:

I would have to say these results are way too vague to be useful. What age groups were involved? Were these highways or backroads? Was alocohol a factor in these incidents? And lets not forget about helmets…you could go on forever. Basically, instead of trying to scare the riding pants off of us, I thing the IIHS should do a better job of trying to educate people on being SAFER riders, not getting us to stop riding a particular kind of bike altogether.

September 14, 2007 at 5:23 pm
(5) Sphinx says:

I’m not giving up my sport bike regardless of these vague death statistics.
Insurance companies are just looking for reasons to increase our rates.

September 15, 2007 at 2:48 am
(6) Edwin says:

Wonderful response Kram, Sphinx, and Nate. I plan to purchase a motorcycle in the future. The way I see it, if you follow the laws then you should’t have to worry about anything. Meaning if you get into an accident while
following the speed limit and also wearing all your gear you should not have serious injuries whether it’s your fault or not.

September 15, 2007 at 11:18 am
(7) Ian says:

As an accident reconstructionist who investigates fatal crashes I have not seen a fatal cruiser crash yet. By contrast, I have investigated 4 fatal sportbike crashes and 3 near fatal crashes in the past 3 years. I think it is the speed factor. My Harley only hits 105 miles per hour and takes a while to get there whereas my sportbike hits 160 and gets there much quicker. One you factor in reaction time and feet travelled per second at speed that matters a great deal.

September 18, 2007 at 12:53 pm
(8) TEvo says:

Lies, Damed Lies & Statistics

Here’s some interesting analysis on this matter.

http://moonrider.journalspace.com/

September 18, 2007 at 4:18 pm
(9) Pete says:

TEvo…quote what you will. The fact is: Sport bike riders die at a far greater % than their portion of total regsitrations…at least all over North America. This is due almost exclusivley to inexperienced kids riding primarily litre bikes. I don’t know how old you are or how long you’ve been riding. I’m 54…started in March 1969. I didn’t expect to see 21 because (looking back now) I was a typical 16 year old…stupid, fearless and indestructable. If 1000RR’s and R1′s had been around then I wouldn’t have made it to 17…let alone 21.
The Brit’s have it right – No one rides an unrestricted bike without 2 years behind them. 2 years probably isn’t enough either, but it’s a damn sight better than Canada (where I am) and I guess most of the US.
I know how fast my litre bike will go. I’ve done it once and it was very long way away from anything that even looked like car. Now I’m happy with twisties instead of long flat boring straights.

September 18, 2007 at 9:42 pm
(10) RJ says:

Having read that IIHS report cover to cover, I find many instances of selective reporting on the data…. to be expected, given the industry sponsorship of the report.

Inexperience, and inexperience alone would account for the rates expressed. In the WORST case, stilted as hard as the IIHS can spin it, the mortality rate is still on the order of .2
percent, compared to .05 percent for the least leathal catagory presented.
Median age at time of death, and every other statistic in this report are the result of compound calculation and assumptions.

This is a biased report, written with the intent of limiting selection of the consumer.

Fatalities have little or nothing to do with it; rates are flat year on year. Fully faired bikes cost the Insurance industry more money to repair than they want to pay.

September 19, 2007 at 11:55 am
(11) g a says:

Another disingenuous example of totally confounding cause and effect. There’s not a single sportbike rider that’s been killed by a sportbike on the showroom floor that I know of. Age? Alcohol? Speed? Education & Training? Experience? Road Conditions? Traffic Congestion?

September 19, 2007 at 12:26 pm
(12) TEvo says:

Well Pete… Vincent Black Shadows and their ilk were the R1s/1000RRs of that time period. :) The need for speed is nothing new.

My problem with the IIHS is that the report is, as RJ put it “disingenous”. I find it to be quite biased towards their interests but I suppose this is to be expected since the IIHS represents insurance interests.

My greatest problem is the spin they’ve put on this report- they’ve selectively chosen to ignore many facets and data points all in their crusade to demonize a specific bike category.

Sure, inexperienced riders are getting into trouble. So are returning riders getting on 1500+ cc cruisers, alcohol, distracted driver. But those aren’t important…

September 19, 2007 at 12:59 pm
(13) RAN says:

The numbers are what they are and I suppose as the debate above shows that you can argue with the numbers but directionally they seem correct i.e. faster, quicker, lighter can get you into more trouble quicker than you (or others driving around you)can react to.

Personally, I’ve been riding about a year with my Ninja 250 and it has been a learning experience. I’m ready to move up to a new bike and have been looking at the usual suspects (i.e. R6, ZX-6, CB600RR and GSX 600) not because I need to go 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. It would be nice to have a bike that is a little heavier, has more of the latest features (like a slipper clutch) and looks like it wasn’t designed in 1988. However there isn’t anything where you can get these things without getting the former (i.e. outrageous speed and acceleration)

September 19, 2007 at 1:28 pm
(14) TEvo says:

:::The numbers are what they are and I suppose as the debate above shows that you can argue with the numbers but directionally they seem correct i.e. faster, quicker, lighter can get you into more trouble quicker than you (or others driving around you)can react to.
:::

I have an issue with this.

The bike isn’t the problem. The rider who isn’t ready or responsible enough to handle these attributes of the vehicle is the problem.

September 19, 2007 at 5:49 pm
(15) Clyde says:

Comment from Tevo about the rider and the bike not being at fault is correct.

I was going to sell my ’04 Concours on the private market and ask for more than market price because the miles are road miles, not stop and go, and look for a leftover ’06 or buy a new ’07 if there were none of them around.

Sadly I found out in Memphiws that the Concours was being discontinued. Guyess I’ll just ride the ’04 until she starts nickel & dimeing me or perhaps have her brbuilt.

I have NO INTEREST in the NEW Concours. Thee are SIX reasons I would not consider the new Concours as a bike I would care to ride or own.

September 19, 2007 at 5:56 pm
(16) Clyde says:

Question? Since it’s a given that alcohol impairs ones abilities WHY arethere so many bikers that gather at taverns or bars on certain nights of the week.

I’m reasonably sure SOME of those bikers are drinking alcohol. I’ve heard comments about how a beer or two doesn’t matter, but it DOES!

Several years ago there was an article in MCN about drinking and riding and a test. It usggested sending yourself E-mail a page in length, then have a beer, then retype the original E-mail and compare the typos. ONE BEER DID make a difference in the typos.

September 20, 2007 at 10:14 am
(17) DECIO-BRAZIL says:

1st of all, I’dlike to congratulate Basem for the excellent forums opportunities, where people worldwide can better base on to make a decision like I did. Very fast bikes are beautifull to hear the sounds, we can notice fm farway they’re arriving, but the problem is that superpower instigate you to put more power, it is very diificult to have one and don’t run fast, problem is that in normal roads w/ lots of cars accidents should happen. I’m very happy with my Glide Classic that goes fine in roads and highways, I’m intending to acquire a sportster like a Honda 1000 or over, I’m thinking carefully abt it, because very probably I will go fast. Better I stay cool with my glide ease enjoying life. All opinions are good for us to decide what’s the best.
Safe Ride
Rgds/Decio-Brazil

September 20, 2007 at 3:24 pm
(18) Jonesb says:

I hear people saying that it’s the rider that is the problem, not the bike. Well, that is how insurance companies work. Young males pay more for insurance than young females. There is no justice in this, but the statistics show that young males are more likely to cost insurance companies than young females. My cries of discrimination are to no avail because they have the stats to back it up. They also have the stats to back up the death rate of Sporty bike riders compared to non-sporty riders. Just like they have the stats to jack up insuance on a Corvette compared to a similarly priced sedan. Fast is expensive all the way around and insurance companies will always win because we are required to use their product. And to top it all off, they could care less about our indignation.

September 20, 2007 at 5:22 pm
(19) RJ says:

Operator error. The fact that the IIHS report plays down this most significant fact is a clear indication of where their true agenda lies. Training is no substitute for preperation; but it can reduce the need for the safety gear to a huge degree.

September 20, 2007 at 5:49 pm
(20) RJ says:

This is the AMA press release in response to the IIHS report:
http://home.ama-cycle.org/newsroom/amarelease.asp?rnum=A07017

June 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm
(21) Marsha Randolph says:

I am wondering when and who will do something about these senseless deaths…. Well I know WHO and WHEN!
It’s me and it’s now!.

I lost my ONLY child, my precious son Brent Robinson to a tragic motorcycle accident. He did not own the bike and I had refused to assist in ownership.

I feel that it is time that these bike manufacturers take some responsibility, just like we have forced the tobacco companies to answer to producing a product that is killing people.

I have created a program called BERR, (See BERR Facebook or http://www.brentrobinson.org). I have approached many motorcycle manufacturers to participate in the promotion of BERR, an educational outreach program targeting the 16-25 demographic. This group, predominately consist of males, are the highest risk group and as statistics will support, a very high percentage of the deaths – the bike operator was NOT licensed, trained or were bike owners. These facts is living proof that a safety training program is critically needed.

It was recently reported that the death rate has risen to 175%….THAT’S CRIMINAL! AND that we are losing more young men to motorcycle crashes than in the war. This is UNBELIEVABLE and we as a society is doing nothing??!!! That’s not acceptable!

What I find unbelievable is that the motorcycle manufacturers have NOT embraced my program. You’d think that some smart marketing executive would realize that the brand that embraces “safety” would increase their sales and public image.

Instead they are making these sport bikes faster and cheaper… and it killing our youth.

Certainly you have heard the old adage, “there’s nothing like a woman scorn”….or hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Well magnify that sentiment a million times when that “woman” is a mother who has lost her precious child.

You will be hearing more about BERR, and if you care to join us in this noble cause, please contact marsharandolph@earthlink.net.

We all know someone who has lost a loved one. Please send me their name, the bike brand they were riding upon their death, their age, a phone number and a photo in a high-res jpeg. I will make sure they are not forgotten, not just a sad statistics – but their death will help us re-write some laws and make the motorcycle manufacturers contribute to safety measures to better protect our kids.

Please don’t wait until it’s your son, brother, father, husband, friend… contact me today.

Please help us save lives!

Marsha Randolph

March 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm
(22) Doug says:

I love to ride,& I know if I had a supersport I would die! I couldn’t help it! ( yes it’s all about I)

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