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Motorcycle Engine Capacity Related Accidents and Injuries

When it comes to motorcycles, bigger doesn’t always mean better. While a motorcycle with more engine capacity is more powerful than a motorcycle with a smaller capacity engine, riding a motorcycle with a bigger engine can be dangerous and even deadly.

Motorcyclists are often drawn to motorcycles with large engines because they have more power and often more speed. However, controlling a motorcycle with a large engine capacity can be challenging, especially when riders are inexperienced.

NHTSA Statistics on Motorcycle Engine Capacity and Fatal Accidents

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies motor vehicle accidents. When it comes to motorcycle accidents, NHTSA found that:

Nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2018, and Motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash.

The NHTSA offers these statistics and safety information on motorcycle engine size as it relates to motorcyclist fatalities:

  • 26% of motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2017 were operating motorcycles with engine sizes ranging from 1,001cc to 1,500cc.
  • 22% percent of motorcyclists killed in 2017 were riding motorcycles with engine sizes of 1,501cc or higher.
  • Motorcyclist fatalities on motorcycles with engine sizes from 1,001cc to 1,500cc decreased by 23% from 2008 to 2017. The number of motorcyclists killed on motorcycles 1,501cc or higher increased by nearly 104%.

These statistics show that while engine capacity isn’t the only factor contributing to motorcycle accidents, it does have an impact.

The severity of a motorcyclist’s injuries is also affected by the type of accident. For example, a side-impact, or T-bone, accident often results in severe injuries.

Motorcycle accidents involving trucks and other large vehicles also can cause devastating injuries.

What’s the Right Engine Capacity for a Beginning Motorcyclist?

When it comes to engine size, the old adage is true: bigger isn’t always better. It’s typically recommended that beginning motorcyclists start on a motorcycle in the 250cc to 500cc range.

Motorcyclists who lack proper knowledge and riding experience are more likely to be involved in motorcycle accidents and even lose their lives.

A motorcycle with a smaller engine capacity gives a beginner motorcyclist time to learn how to operate the vehicle, including safe braking and turning. These motorcycles are also easier to control and stop. Plus, motorcyclists are less likely to drop one of these vehicles when stopping.

A motorcyclist is more likely to walk away from a motorcycle accident involving a vehicle with a smaller engine capacity.

In addition to riding a motorcycle with an engine capacity that matches an individual’s riding experience and skills, there are other things that novice motorcyclists can do to decrease the likelihood that they will be involved in serious accidents:

  • Wear proper safety gear, including a U.S. Department of Transportation compliant helmet
  • Obtain a proper license
  • Take rider education training classes
  • Drive defensively
  • Check tire pressure and tread depth, brakes, headlights, and signal indicators before each ride
  • Perform regular maintenance on the motorcycle
  • Practice operating the motorcycle
  • Build up to riding on more dangerous roads
  • Obey speed limits and the rules of the road
  • Always drive sober
The Basics of Motorcycle Engine Capacity

What is engine capacity? Engine capacity is the volume swept by the pistons of an engine. Engines with greater capacities are usually more powerful.

In motorcycles, engine capacity is measured in ccs, which stands for cubic centimeters. Motorcycle engines can range from 50cc to more than 1,500cc.

Motorcycles are powered by combustion engines that take in air and fuel. A larger cylinder engine can take in more air and fuel and convert more energy per cycle than a smaller engine, which results in more power output and more speed.

More power and more speed can mean not only more accidents but more dangerous accidents.

However, keep in mind that motorcycle engine size isn’t that only predictor of accidents or the severity of accident injuries.

Larger engines are usually found on heavier motorcycles. Some lighter motorcycles with smaller engines can travel much faster than heavier motorcycles with larger engines. Motorcycles traveling at high rates of speed are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.

To learn more about how our motorcycle injury attorneys can help you with your motorcycle accident claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or using our online form.

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