Aside from wearing proper safety gear, choosing the right kind of motorcycle is also crucial. Not only should you look for a big bike that is the right size and weight, but you should also be aware that some motorcycle types are more involved in fatal accidents than others.
A supersport motorcycle is one of those motorcycle types that can be potentially dangerous if used carelessly by someone inexperienced, so if you are leaning towards purchasing one but you also know that you lack the expertise to ride it, you may want to reconsider your options.
What is a supersport motorcycle?
Supersport motorcycles are two-wheeled, high-powered vehicles intended for racing but modified for highway use. They feature lightweight yet powerful engines, with 600cc to 1,000cc.
These motorcycles are engineered to deliver more horsepower than any other motorcycle type, and depending on the make and model, these big bikes can reach speeds of more than 150 mph.
With the potential for great speed, supersport motorcycles attract many motorcycle enthusiasts but often those from the younger demographic who lack the necessary training to ride them safely.
What makes supersport motorcycles dangerous?
Riding a standard motorcycle is already dangerous because of its lack of stability and safety features that make you more vulnerable than any other motorist. However, using a supersport motorcycle can further exacerbate these risks.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the death rate of supersport motorcycle riders is four times higher than that of riders using other motorcycle types. Despite making up less than 10% of motorcycles on the road, supersport bikes account for over 25% of all motorcycle-related deaths.
For every 10,000 registered motorcycles, the standard types account for only 5.7% of deaths, while large touring bikes account for only 6.5%. Supersport motorcycles, however, have a 10.7% fatality rate.
So what makes riding supersport motorcycles dangerous?
• Too much power and speed
Supersport motorcycles are designed for the racetrack, so it is not entirely surprising that many riders treat these big bikes as if they are in a race. Because supersport motorcycles offer way too much power for regular highway use, it can be challenging to resist the urge to go full speed.
However, many riders seem to give in to the temptation, which is probably why supersport motorcycles have high death rates and insurance losses. This does not mean that those who perished are all irresponsible riders. Still, the number of motorcyclists who think it is okay to ride on a regular public highway at speeds of more than 150 mph has been gradually increasing over the years.
• Letting ego get in the way
Many riders can see riding a supersport motorcycle as highly cool and badass. However, this kind of mindset—one that puts image first before safety—is what gets many supersport motorcycle riders killed.
While wanting to show off is not inherently wrong, showing off can cost riders their lives when it comes to supersport bikes. What is even more alarming is that the ones attracted by these high-performance vehicles are mostly younger people who are new to motorcycles.
Riding a standard motorcycle takes a great deal of experience, practice, and balance, and with supersport bikes, these three become even more crucial. This high-powered vehicle offers increased acceleration and requires a lot of control, so being careless could quickly turn a sweet ride into a fatal one.
Because of their lightweight design, many people think that supersport motorcycles are more accessible to control than other motorcycle types. However, that is not always the case, especially during bad weather. If it starts to rain or the road is still wet from a recent downpour, a supersport motorcycle is more likely to skid than a regular, heavier type of bike.
A supersport bike also has lower handlebars that put you in a forward-leaning position which, in the event of a crash, can cause you to go flying forward.
Statistics of supersport motorcycle accidents
According to the IIHS’ Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), speeding is the number one cause of 57% of fatal crashes involving supersport motorcycles. This is in stark comparison to the 27% of deadly road accidents involving standard motorcycles and 22% involving touring bikes.
Riding under the influence of alcohol is another common cause of supersport motorcycle accidents, although at a lower rate than fatal accidents involving standard and touring motorcycles. Alcohol impairment is a factor in 19% of fatal supersport motorcycle crashes, 33% of fatal standard motorcycle crashes, and 26% of fatal touring motorcycle crashes.
Are regular motorcycles safer?
Different measures have been taken to reduce motorcycle deaths over the years. However, the numbers remain high despite these efforts. Even the simplest of actions—wearing a helmet—is still not widely implemented as there are still some states where helmet use is not mandatory.
But even with helmets, supersport motorcycle riders continue to have shockingly high death rates. This begs one to ask: are cruisers the safer option?
The answer is yes. Standard motorcycles, also called cruisers, have the lowest rate of motorcycle-related deaths among all types of motorcycles. This is because the larger and heavier design of cruisers puts them at an advantage over supersport bikes as far as rider protection is concerned.
A cruiser is also equipped with a fender. This motorcycle component will typically hit the ground first before the rider, which can help lessen the impact in the event of a crash.
Another advantage cruisers have over supersport bikes is their suitability for lousy weather. This does not mean that riding in the rain is okay as long as you use a cruiser, but usually, a standard motorcycle is better at handling wet roads than a supersport motorcycle.
Lastly, cruisers have heavier engines and are equipped with more safety features like an anti-lock braking system that significantly lessens the likelihood of a fatal motorcycle accident.
Safety tips for riding a supersport motorcycle
The best way to not get involved in a supersport motorcycle accident is not to ride a supersport motorcycle. But if you want to be The Flash on a big bike, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Do not ride with your ego.
Leave your ego at home and only drive within your skill level. Never attempt to travel at high speeds or weave in and out of traffic if you are not capable.
- Be conscious of your surroundings.
Never assume that other drivers on the road can see you, so always ride on high alert and be responsible for staying safe around cars.
- Wear bright and reflective clothing.
Because of its size, a motorcycle is often not seen by other drivers until it is too late. Riding one capable of running at unbelievable speeds is only going to make things worse. To avoid this, riders should wear bright colors and reflective clothing so they can be easily visible on the road.
- Use a helmet.
Wear a helmet that fits properly; not too tight but not too loose on your head either. Head injuries are the leading cause of death among motorcycle riders, and while helmets do not completely prevent injury, they still give your head some protection.
- Invest in leather.
Because of its thickness, leather can help protect you from sliding across the concrete. Leather motorcycle boots are also great for protecting your feet, not only from the asphalt in the event of a crash but also from the heat of the engine.