Self-driving cars promise to transform the automobile industry - and not just for insurers.

A recent report in Insurance Journal states that self-driving cars will completely change life for motorcyclists -- for the better.

It's a simple safety equation: when robots are at the wheel, far fewer bikers will die on the road. As a result, more people will be inclined to use this alternative form of transportion, which previously had been seen as too dangerous.

How, exactly, will self-driving cars have such an effect on motorcycle safety? Take the left-hand turn:

A vehicle turning across a lane of opposing traffic has little to do with the bike rider, but is one of the most dangerous actions in motorcycling. When motorcyclists die on the road, this is how it happens one out of five times, according to crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA explains that cars traveling in the same direction as the motorcycle often don’t notice the bike overtaking on the left, while cars making a turn from the opposite direction either fail to see the oncoming bike or misjudge its speed. Self-driving cars, the NHTSA suggests, won't make these common mistakes.

This is great news for motorcyclists - and the motorcycle industry. Accidents are on the rise - and a disproportionate number of these fatalities are motorcycle riders. While bikers account for less than 1 percent of vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., motorcyclists suffered 14.2 percent of all traffic deaths in 2015. By making motorcycle travel safer, there will be a boon to the industry, as well as insurers providing motorcycle coverage.

And even better? Safer roads mean less accidents - and less accidents equal lower premiums. So while the jury may still be out on self-driving vehicles, this is one scenario everyone should celebrate!

Photo credit: Flickr/russellstreet

Source: Insurance Journal, How Self-Driving Cars Will Make Motorcycles Safer | NHSTA, Traffic fatalities up sharply in 2015

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