Motorcyclists already face a lot of risks. Their small vehicles are hard to see, they frequently get cut off by other drivers and they have very little protection in the event of an accident.
More and more vehicles are moving toward electric power, as the supply of fossil fuels is finite. Will electric motorcycles keep riders safe, or will they actually increase the risks on the road?
Some experts believe they could put riders at risk. The problem is that these bikes could be nearly silent. While that's nice in a car, reducing road noise, motorcyclists often talk about how the loud engine noise from the bikes helps to attract drivers' attention. Even if a driver does not see a bike in his or her blind spot, the driver may hear the bike, and that can help avoid collisions.
On a silent electric bike, would more riders get hit? That is certainly a concern, and something that bikers who say "Loud pipes save lives" tend to worry about.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seems to agree. The agency also noted that there could be increased danger to pedestrians. Like drivers, they may fail to see motorcycles. If they also cannot hear them, could they accidentally walk into their path and get hit? Pedestrians have even less protection than motorcyclists and a high chance of suffering fatal injuries.
It will be important to keep these issues in mind as more and more electric vehicles take to the roads in the United States. Those who suffer serious injuries need to know what rights they have to compensation.