The modern bikes are just enticing us to push them to the limits, but the motorcycle accident statistics advise us not to. So, where is the limit, and where should we stop?
Let’s face it, motorcyclists were never in the safest driver category, not even close. Yet, if you ask any biker, he wouldn’t trade his bike for the fanciest car in the world. It’s more a way of life than a transport vehicle, and people who own motorcycles love them. And when love is in question, we tend to go overboard sometimes.
Important Motorcycle Crash Statistics (Editor’s Picks)
- Motorcycles were accountable for 14% of all fatal accidents in 2019
- Over 50% of all motorcycle fatalities are middle-aged men
- Approximately 88% of all motorcycle fatalities occur during good weather
- About 80% of all motorcycle accidents end in injury
- Over 40% of all motorcycle-car accidents occur when vehicles in front make left-hand turns
- Almost 40% of motorcycle accidents with fatalities are single-vehicle crashes
- In 2019, three states accounted for nearly 30% of all motorcyclists’ deaths
- In 2019, 30% of motorcycle drivers in fatal accidents didn’t have valid motorcycle licenses
Interesting Motorcycle Safety Statistics
1. In 2019, motorcycles were involved in 14% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.
In 2019, there were over 276 million motor vehicles registered in the US. Out of 36,096 people who died in a vehicle accident in 2019, 5,014 were riding motorcycles.
On top of that, in 2019, the rate of unlicensed fatally injured passenger vehicles drivers was lower than that of unlicensed fatally injured motorcycle drivers.
2. Motorcycle fatality statistics show that 27% of motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired.
That’s higher than any other type of vehicle driver. For instance, 21% of passenger car drivers and 3% of heavy truck drivers had elevated blood alcohol levels. What’s more, 43% of drivers in fatal single-vehicle and motorcycle crashes were alcohol-impaired. Drinking and driving is never a good idea, especially when a person is supposed to use his body balance to steer the vehicle.
3. Motorcyclists’ death rates have increased by around 15% from 2009 to 2019.
(Insurance Information Institute)
Motorcycle death statistics show a disturbing increasing trend. From 21.46 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled in 2009, the death rates rose to 25.47 in 2019. That may not sound like a lot, but still, it is a 15% increase. Moreover, the fact that it happened during a fast evolution in bike safety features makes the results look even worse.
4. As per motorcycle accident death stats, bikers are 50 times more likely to be fatally injured than car drivers in the UK.
Every day, over 50 motorcyclists, on average, are injured in an accident in the UK. Moreover, in Great Britain, motorcyclists represented 10% of the 153,158 road casualties in 2019. However, that was a 4% decrease from the year before.
5. More than half of all motorcycle fatalities are males above 40.
There are many explanations for that, but the main ones are that the human body becomes less flexible as we grow old, thus reducing our ability to steer. The second reason is that there is more chance for a minor injury to become complicated as we grow older.
Moreover, motorcycle accident reports indicate that 91% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2019 were males.
6. Three states accounted for almost 30% of all motorcyclists’ lives lost in 2019.
A closer look at the motorcycle accident statistics by state reveals that out of 4,733 motorcyclists who died in 2019, 559 happened in Florida, 451 in California, and 400 in Texas. That’s 1,410 in total.
On the other side of the table is the District of Columbia, with only three fatalities. The Sun Belt states have always had the highest numbers because motorcycling and good weather are closely intertwined.
7. The estimated annual cost of motorcycle crashes and injuries is $12.8 billion.
Although the motorcycle accident statistics for 2020 aren’t conclusive yet, the increased accident rates of almost all vehicle types show that sum is likely to be even higher. The costs include emergency services, different medical expenses, rehabilitation, property damage, loss in market and household productivity, defense attorneys, insurance costs, etc. Although often considerable, the damage that the vehicle suffers is trivial compared to the expenses that follow.
Motorcycle vs. Car Accident Statistics
8. Approximately 94% of motorcycle fatalities are male, compared to 65% in car crashes.
(Business Standard), (Department for Transport), (IIHS)
This can be attributed to the fact that motorcycling is more popular with men. But we can’t neglect the fact that although males are a large majority in cruising and sport motorcycling, an estimated 35% of scooter drivers are females. In addition. one scientific study showed that women are more likely to wear helmets, avoid drinking while driving, and the percentage of motorcycle accidents proves they are generally less likely to get into risky situations.
9. 30% of motorcycle drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2019 were without valid motorcycle licenses.
A valid motorcycle license means that a rider has a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle-only license. However, many motorcycle drivers are not aware that a car driver’s license doesn’t allow them to drive a motorcycle.
10. According to the motorcycle safety statistics, 32% of all motorcycle drivers involved in fatal accidents were speeding, compared to 18% of all passenger car drivers.
This percentage goes even lower for light and heavy truck drivers, 14% and 7% respectively. The simple explanation is that motorcycles are powerful and lightweight. They can accelerate two or three times faster than a car. Therefore, people have to be experienced to restrain the power and acceleration that motorcycles provide.
11. More than one-third of motorcycle accidents with fatalities were single-vehicle crashes.
Although some conclusive data on how many motorcycle deaths there were in 2020 is not available yet, the last available data can shed some light.
Out of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019, 39% (1,951 deaths) were single-vehicle crashes, compared to 61% (3,063 deaths) of multiple-vehicle crashes.
Why Are Motorcycle Crash Statistics So Specific?
Driving a motorcycle is a specific form of transport because the driver is steering with his whole body, shifting his body weight to balance the bike. Also, in a car, we have a protective cage, crumple zones, and airbags to protect the passengers. Motorcycles have none of that. And although much has been achieved in active and passive motorcycle safety, there is still much to be done. The biggest problem that engineers have is that it’s incredibly hard to predict how the body will move in an accident.
12. Motorcycle accident rates indicate that 88% of all fatalities occurred during good weather.
(National Safety Council)
What is more, 52% of them happened during daylight. Unlike cars, where the weather is an important factor, motorcycles are mostly involved in accidents when the weather and visibility are good. That is understandable because there aren’t many motorcyclists out on the roads in bad weather.
13. 42% of all accidents between motorcycles and cars happen when cars in front make left-hand turns.
A closer look at the statistics on motorcycle accidents reveals that this is a hazardous situation for motorcyclists. Due to their small size, they are less visible on the road. Usually, the turning car hits the motorcycle when the motorcycle goes straight through a crossroad and passes or overtakes the vehicle.
14. Looking good is important to cruiser motorcycle riders, even though only 7% increased visibility is an important factor when buying driving clothes.
Even though most of them are fully aware that increased visibility would reduce the number of motorcycle accidents per year, the riders of cruise, sport, and touring motorcycles don’t want to trade looking cool for safety. They believe bright colors would ruin their appearance. On the other hand, 86% of scooter riders believe safety comes first when choosing clothes. That could be explained by the widespread view that scooters are a means of transport and big bikes are a way of life. For instance, cruiser riders take pride that their leather jackets are decades old and wouldn’t even think to trade them for a brightly colored vest.
15. Motorcycle injury statistics show that approximately 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in some sort of injury.
As we have mentioned, with no protective cage around the motorcyclist, even the most benign accident or a fall can cause serious injuries. For instance, truck drivers have the least number of injuries compared to the number of crashes because they have a large amount of metal protecting them.
How to Improve Motorcycle Accident Statistics
16. Only 19 states in the US have mandatory helmet laws.
Overall, road safety could be significantly improved if all the states would implement mandatory helmet laws. It would reduce the possibility of head injury, which accounts for many motorcyclists’ lives lost. The officials estimate that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a fatality crash by 37%.
Wearing a GPS watch may also aid in reducing the number of accidents, as you can instantly check the weather conditions, or the traffic tally up ahead.
17. Mandatory ABS could reduce the percentage of motorcycle riders who crash up to 42%
A study done in Europe compared the number of crashes and injuries with motorcycles of the same make with, and without ABS. The researchers concluded that the motorcycles equipped with ABS reduce chances of collision and injury from 22% to 42%, depending on the country and motorcycle size. In Europe, ABS is mandatory on all motorcycles produced after 2016.
18. NHTSA estimates that helmets have prevented, on average, 1,250 motorcycle deaths per year since 2002.
(National Safety Council)
According to the officials, in the last 20 years, the total number of lives saved by helmets is 25,000. And although this sounds great, it’s somewhat diminished by the assessment that 802 more lives could have been saved, if every motorcyclist had worn a helmet.
19. Airbags and airbag vests can improve motorcycle fatality rate, as they can reduce head trauma injuries by 83%
(Davis Law Firm)
Honda, the world-famous motorcycle manufacturer and a pioneer in motorcycle safety, conducted a series of tests and concluded that airbags reduce forward momentum during a crash by up to 63% and head trauma possibility by 83%. Unfortunately, there are limited studies on airbag vests, but it is undoubtedly better to have one on when hitting the asphalt, a common crash in motorcycling.
20. More than 50% of all motorcycle accidents involve riders who had less than five months of experience on the particular model they were using.
The motorcycle accident statistics indicate that experience with one model doesn’t imply you will be able to handle every other motorcycle, especially when the difference in size and power is substantial. It’s always best to spend some time getting to know your new ride in a controlled space before taking it on the open road. The current trend is that people skip several categories when making a purchase. For instance, they go directly from a scooter to a sportbike or a cruiser, which require a completely different way of driving.
When thinking about driving a motorcycle, how many of us think first about motorcycle accident stats? Wind in hair, freedom, winding mountain roads, and open plains first come to mind when motorcycles are mentioned.
And it’s completely understandable. Which one had ever looked at a bike in some magazine and thought: “Man, I would ride this thing so safely?” Even people who don’t own bikes feel the same. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. Everyone should try to be more careful.
People Also Ask
What percentage of motorcycle riders get into accidents?
Overall, motorcycles are less stable than other motor vehicles. Therefore, they can lead to more accidents and severe injuries due to the fact that they lack the surrounding cage cars have.
That said, if each registered motorcycle has a unique owner and there’s only one annual injury per rider, around 1% of all motorcycles are injured in a crash. However, that percentage might be higher since not all accidents are reported.
How likely are you to die in a motorcycle accident?
Compared to the total miles driven, a motorcyclist is 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than a car driver. As far as the odds are concerned, the National Safety Council calculated that you have 1 in 890 odds of dying in a motorcycle crash. To put things in perspective, you have 1 to 1,112 odds of drowning and 1 in 541 chance of dying in a car-pedestrian incident. Number one and two on the lists are heart disease and cancer, with 1 to 6 and 1 to 7 odds.
How many people died in motorcycle accidents?
On the basis of confirmed statistics for the last ten-year period, there were 48,739 motorcycle accident fatalities. The average is 4,874. Sadly, the statistics do not show a declining trend, and the numbers for each particular year in this period vary several hundred up or down from the average. The drivers most in danger of suffering an accident are the ones older than 40 and driving big motorcycles above 1,000cc.
What is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents?
Approximately 57% of all fatal motorcycle crashes were collisions with other motor vehicles in transport. The main problem is that motorcyclists are not visible enough to other drivers. As a result, most accidents happen when a motorcycle tries to overtake a car and when cars in front of a bike want to make left-hand turns. The second most common type of accident (23%) is a collision with a fixed object, mostly after drivers lose control of the motorcycle.
Where do most motorcycle accidents occur?
More than half of all motorcycle accidents happen on principal and minor arterial roadways. Just 9% of the accidents occur on the interstate and 5% on highways. The simple explanation is that there aren’t many left-hand turns on these kinds of roads. Also, 65% of all motorcycle accidents happen in urban areas and at road intersections, as the most dangerous spots for motorcyclists.
Do motorcycles get in more accidents than cars?
Motorcycle drivers are 28 times more likely to suffer a fatal crash than car drivers. They are, next to pedestrians and bicycle drivers, the most endangered driver category. Driving a motorcycle requires a particular set of skills, and more than 50% of motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle crashes caused mostly by loss of control.
At what speed do most motorcycle accidents happen?
Approximately 33% of all motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 were speeding, compared to 19% of car drivers speeding. But it appears that, contrary to popular belief, a large majority of motorcycle crashes happen at relatively low speed. According to one study conducted on 900 motorcycle crashes, a median pre-accident speed was 29.8 mph. The average speed at the time of the impact was 21.5 mph. Motorcycle accident statistics show that only one out of every thousand accidents happened at the average speed of 86mph and more.