The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not seem to attach much meaning to this question, for they consider the trike to be a type of motorcycle. It’s just a motorcycle with three wheels rather than the usual two. In their report, they list several types of motorcycles, but they don’t divide their data accordingly.
In their 2013 report on fatal motorcycle crashes, the Administration does comment that 93 percent of the fatal motorcycle crashes involved two-wheeled motorcycles. While that would seem to indicate trikes are much safer, the report does not mention the number of trikes on the road comparted to the number of two-wheeled motorcycles. Given that there are more two-wheeled motorcycles around than there are trikes, it makes sense that more two-wheeled motorcycles would be involved in fatal crashes.
The report also mentions that older riders, as in 40 and above, made up 55 percent of the riders killed in crashes in 2013. During that same year, the average age of a motorcyclist killed in a crash was 42.
Trikes, unfortunately appeal to just that demographic: The typical trike buyer is over 35 years old, and many are women. Trikes are more stable than two-wheeled motorcycles, and they don’t require the rider to hold them steady at traffic lights or lean into curves. Both those actions can be hard for people with weak muscles or knees. A trike’s superior stability makes it safer to ride in bad weather or on sand or gravel than a conventional motorcycle. The trike’s stability also means it is less likely to tip over.
Trikes have the added advantage of being bigger and therefore more visible than a regular motorcycle. An automobile driver is therefore less likely to plow into the trike simply because they didn’t see them. Some trike riders also claim that a trike stops more quickly than a motorcycle does.
The major downside of a trike is that they are less maneuverable than a normal motorcycle. Because of their size, it is harder for the rider to dodge such obstacles as a pothole or oncoming vehicle.
For a free consultation about your rights and our approach to client service in a motorcycle accident case, contact personal injury attorney Gary Natale in West Orange.