If you don’t spend a lot of time around motorcyclists, it’s likely that there are a few terms that are foreign to you. Examples include bagger, cruiser, and crotch rocket. One of those terms, crotch rocket, corresponds with a style of motorcycle that can be quite dangerous in the wrong situations. These super-fast, aerodynamic sport bikes are both fun and convenient for those who live in busy cities. But just how dangerous are they?
If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, you may need a Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer from Lipton Law. We have extensive experience handling these complex cases, and we understand that you might feel scared and stressed out after your accident. Our Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers are both compassionate about your situation and aggressive in fighting for just compensation. To schedule a consultation with us, please call 248-557-1688 or fill out our online intake form today.
What Is a Crotch Rocket Motorcycle?
“Crotch rocket” is a slang term that refers to supersport motorbikes. They are high speed and high performance when compared to other types of motorcycles, and this appeals to many motorists. They are more or less the consumer version of racing bikes.
Compared to other motorcycles, like baggers and cruisers, they are much more lightweight. They also have more nimble handling and increased power for high speed. In fact, some of the bikes available to consumers can reach speeds of nearly 200 mph.
Why Are Crotch Rockets so Fast?
While we do fully understand that excessive speed on the road is dangerous, many people can’t help see the appeal. When riders mount their supersport motorcycles, they usually feel a rush of adrenaline and excitement. These bikes are built for power, speed, and nimble handling with an aerodynamic body shape.
While in motion, riders are expected to lean forward to reduce the drag caused by the air. This high emphasis on speed, unfortunately, contributes to supersport motorcycles having higher rates of fatality in the event of a crash.
Are Crotch Rockets Safe?
Safety is mostly a matter of whether or not you follow the recommended best practices in the operation of your vehicle, whether it’s a motorcycle or a car. In general, motorcycles are more dangerous than enclosed vehicles, according to the NHTSA. Specifically, 13 out of every 100,000 cars are involved in a fatal crash. Motorcycles experience fatality rates of 72 per 100,000.
So, are crotch rockets safe? It depends. If you wear protective equipment and exercise caution while driving, you are less likely to get into an accident. However, in the event of an accident, you are still more likely to suffer more serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury due to a crash, than a car driver.
Crotch Rocket Motorcycle Death Statistics
Crotch rocket motorcycle riders are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those who ride other types of motorcycles. One of the most significant factors contributing to this statistic is their high speeds. In fact, speed plays an important role in nearly 60% of crotch rocket motorcycle deaths. Over 50% of those involved in fatal motorcycle crashes on crotch rockets involved riders under the age of 30.
Additionally, 2019 saw the frequency of insurance claims for supersport motorbikes increase to three times the national average. They also had the highest number of claims out of the 11 different classifications of motorcycles.
These high power bikes only make up less than 10% of the total number of registered motorbikes. However, they make up 25% of all rider fatalities. But what makes them so much more fatal? Why are their death rates higher than other classes?
Why Are Death Rates for Crotch Rocket Motorcycles Higher?
Their injuries also tend to be more severe than other types of motorists. The most common injuries associated with these bikes include head injuries, spinal injuries, broken bones, and hand and wrist injuries. The most common car accident injuries, however, are bruising, whiplash, concussions, and cuts and lacerations.
While they can be very severe, they tend to be slightly more manageable than motorcycle crash injuries. In the following sections, we outline some of the factors that contribute to higher fatality rates for this specific type of accident.
Helmetless Riding and Fatalities
Back in 2012, the state of Michigan repealed its universal helmet law. The law required all motorcyclists to wear protective headgear while riding a motorcycle, regardless of whether they were drivers or riders.
The following are the most significant changes to the repealed universal helmet law:
- Those who are at least 21 years old may operate or ride on a motorcycle without wearing a crash helmet as long as they meet licensing and insurance requirements.
- Operators of motorcycles must have endorsements on their license or have passed certain safety courses.
- All drivers and riders must have at least $20,000 in insurance coverage.
The NHTSA estimates that at least 27 more Michigan lives could have been saved if there were 100% helmet usage in the state in 2017. After the repeal, the fatality rate for those not wearing helmets was nearly double the rate for helmeted cyclists. Additionally, there was a 14% increase in head injuries in hospitalized motorcyclists, according to one study.
Michigan’s helmet law repeal resulted in a 24% to 27% helmet use decline among riders in crashes and a 14% increase in head injury.NHTSA
Higher speeds in any vehicle significantly increase the risk of death or severe injury in the event of accidents. Speed is actually one of the most important factors which contribute to fatal crashes.
The practice known as “lane splitting” can contribute to crashes in areas where car drivers are not used to it. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives in between two lanes of cars in order to move ahead or to escape a traffic jam. In densely populated areas such as California, the practice is common and fully legal.
In Michigan, however, it is illegal. The practice can easily lead to an accident, as the motorcycle has less space in which to maneuver. Additionally, many people don’t expect that a motorcyclist will do this. Thus, they won’t be on the lookout for motorcycles, and could accidentally hit them.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
Left-hand turns are dangerous even for enclosed motor vehicles. When a crotch rocket comes across a car making a left-hand turn, it could be deadly. These types of accidents actually make up 42% (nearly half!) of all crashes involving bikes and other vehicles.
Generally, the car turning left will collide with the motorcycle due to its smaller size and lower visibility. In most cases, the fault lies with the driver turning left, as they failed to check whether or not a motorcycle was going straight through the intersection.
Motorcycles are even more at risk when there are unsafe road conditions. Loose gravel, debris in the road, and slippery surfaces have caused more accidents than we can count. Because of their small size and decreased stability, the conditions of the road more significantly affect motorcycles.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Driving recklessly, excessive speeds, aggressive driving, and alcohol use are common causes of all types of injury, including those resulting from motor bike crashes. When either the bike or the car engages in these hazardous practices, the results can be catastrophic.
Owners of high quality crotch rockets often love to ride at high speeds. However, crashes are often a direct result of this recklessness. Drivers are much more likely to suffer a serious injury (or even lose their life) at higher speeds.
Failing to Detect Motorcyclists
One of, if not the most common cause of motor bike accidents is the failure of another driver to detect motorcyclists. As we mentioned previously, the small size of bikes often makes it difficult even for attentive drivers to see them. When you add in other factors, such as glare, visual obstructions, texting and driving, and general inattention, it becomes even more difficult to spot a motorcycle rider.
While reducing distractions does normally prevent accidents, you can’t control what other drivers do. Crotch rocket owners must always be proactive in watching out for potential hazards.
What Percentage of Motorcycle Accidents Are Crotch Rockets?
The numbers are worth repeating: while the crotch rocket category makes up only 10% of registered motorcycles, they account for 24% of all crashes. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that the fatality rate for a crotch rocket compares to a cruiser is nearly four times higher.
Contact a Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured as the driver of a crotch rocket, you need an attorney immediately. At Lipton Law, we understand that you’re probably scared and confused after your accident. That’s why our experienced Michigan personal injury lawyers are here to support you in the courtroom so you can focus on recovery. We prioritize each and every attorney client relationship that we forge, and we will never stop fighting for just compensation for you.
To schedule a visit with a qualified attorney, or to explore the legal services we offer, please call 248-557-1688. You can also fill out our online intake form today.