Though the majority of people do not ride motorcycles, and certainly don't do it regularly, they are a well-loved niche vehicle. As the summer begins, you'll see more and more of them on the roads. It's time to think about motorcycle accident statistics and the realities of being in a crash.

There Is an Elevated Danger

You shouldn't be scared of riding, but you should respect the bike and what it means. Your risk level is elevated, to a large degree because minor accidents in cars can be deadly on motorcycles.

Think of a 25 MPH crash in a car. You may destroy the front end of your vehicle, but it's designed to protect you at 55 MPH or 70 MPH. The steel frame, the airbags, the crumple zones and the seat belts mean you very well could get out of the car without a scratch.

A crash on a bike, at the same speed, can be much different. Someone cuts in front of you and suddenly you're flying through the air, thrown from the bike at 25 MPH due to not having a seatbelt. You don't have a frame or airbags; it's just you and your helmet against the pavement or the other vehicle.

Without that protection, motorcycle accidents can have serious ramifications. In writing about safe riding -- and in support of it -- one man noted that his uncle was killed in a crash at age 23, while two of his father's friends had been involved in accidents and lost limbs. Not that the same thing can't happen in a car, but there are more systems working to protect you and to prevent it.

Riders Can Reduce That Danger

All that being said, there is much that riders can do to reduce their own personal danger. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that roughly one third of all motorcycle deaths involved alcohol. These avoidable accidents and deaths make motorcycle fatality stats higher than they need to be.

On top of that, a lot of accidents turn deadly when riders don't have helmets on. Since a motorcycle has so few safety systems of its own, helmets can absolutely save lives -- even if they can't prevent accidents or stop all injuries.

Your Rights

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it may be wise to think about your legal options. Since injuries can be significant and life-changing, compensation for those injuries may help you tremendously after a wreck that was not your fault.