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How does a motorcycle compare to a car in a crash?

If you ride a motorcycle, you may wonder how it compares with a car in terms of crashworthiness. In other words, which vehicle is better equipped to withstand a collision? There are many factors that put your motorcycle at a disadvantage in a collision with a car.

While your motorcycle is not able to withstand a crash as well as a car can, it does offer you potential advantages in avoiding a collision in the first place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains your motorcycle’s advantages and disadvantages when it comes to sharing the road with cars.

Advantages

Compared to a car, your motorcycle is more maneuverable and agile. This means that if you believe that a crash is imminent, you may be able to avoid it by swerving away. Compared to a car, your motorcycle also has the ability to stop more quickly, which could also help you avoid a collision with another motor vehicle.

Disadvantages

Characteristics that make a vehicle crashworthy include weight and bulk. Your motorcycle is considerably more lightweight than a car, which is part of what makes it more maneuverable. However, it also means that a car or truck can withstand a greater force in a collision, as well as imparting a greater force to you and your motorcycle.

A car or truck has four wheels compared to your motorcycle’s two. This makes the other vehicle more stable and less likely to tip or roll over. Seatbelts and airbags are safety devices standard on most cars and trucks but lacking on your motorcycle. However, a car or truck also provides protection to its occupants by virtue of its framework, which includes a roof and door beams.

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