Motorcycles only make up about 3% of all registered vehicles and 0.6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States. However, motorcycles accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, 17% of all occupant fatalities, and 3% of all occupant injuries in 2019.
Motorcycles are dangerous, but their design doesn’t make them more crashworthy than closed vehicles. However, because they are less visible to other drivers and pedestrians and less stable than four-wheel vehicles, motorcycle accidents can be very serious.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,014 motorcyclists died in 2019 motorcycle crashes, down slightly from 5,038 in 2018. However, it’s worth mentioning that same year, motorcyclists were nearly 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled.
Operating a motorcycle requires a different combination of physical and mental skills than those used in driving four-wheel vehicles. Because of this and many other factors, motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to the elements, road conditions, and other drivers.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics and Their Causes
Many factors are at play in a motorcycle accident. Speeding, distracted driving, and drunk drivers can be deadly, to name a few, and other vehicles, especially those operated by negligent drivers, pose a huge risk.
The following statistics provide insight into some of the most common crash causes:
- Wrong turns are responsible for 42% of motorcycle deaths
- 28% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2018 involved alcohol
- Speeding accounted for 34% of motorbike accidents in 2017
- Warmer weather states have a higher fatality rate for motorcyclists, most likely due to year-long riding
- 61% of motorcycle fatalities happen in urban areas, probably due to the lack of space and more vehicles sharing the roads
- In rural areas, the proportion of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes was highest for riders of motorcycles
Motorcycle Crash Data
Many motorcycle crashes involve other vehicles. Many automobile drivers don’t operate their vehicles with motorcyclists in mind, and this puts motorcyclists in even more danger. Motorcycle riders must practice safety to reduce the risk of injury or accident.
Single-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles are less frequent but still account for 42% of all motorcycle crashes. These incidents commonly involve speeding, reckless driving, or substance abuse.
74% of motorcycle accidents were frontal collisions, and motorcycle and automobile accidents combined are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Motorcycle accidents are responsible for nearly half of the new spinal cord injuries each year. An estimated 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, and in 2018 there were 82,000 motorcycle injuries in the U.S.
Injury Facts and Motorcycle Deaths
Motorcycles are involved in 11% of all accidents on the road in the U.S. Cars offer a protective shell encompassing the driver, and motorcycles don’t come with that added safety. Consider that in traffic crashes involving drugs or alcohol, injuries occur in 90% of motorcycle crashes, compared with 33% of automobile crashes.
Motorcycle Deaths Each Year
The risk of ejection is likely when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident and could lead to serious injury or death. Here are some more data on motorcycle fatalities:
- Head injuries are the number one cause of death in motorcycle crashes
- In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed on U.S. roads
- Motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash in 2017
- Riders over the age of 40 comprise the greatest share of motorcyclist fatalities nationwide
- Super sportbikes have rider death rates almost four times higher than cruisers and standard motorcycles
Motorcycle Safety and Accident Prevention
Motorcycles can be dangerous. If you or a loved one ride a motorbike, here are some tips for staying safe:
- Always wear a full-face helmet and safe riding gear
- Check and make sure your motorcycle is road-ready before you ride
- Avoid wet or slick roads and driving in inclement weather whenever possible
- Never drink alcohol or use drugs before a ride
- Know your local laws and get properly trained and licensed
If someone you love was killed in a motorcycle crash, then contact the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Goldstein & Goldstein to get the support you need.