The adrenaline rush and thrill of letting loose inspire motorcycle riders to take their machines for a spin. Many enthusiasts even reported being in a meditative-like state while riding the open road, with the wind in their hair and nothing surrounding them.
However, if careless, this fun and relaxing experience can take a dark turn. Motorcycles are one of the deadliest means of transportation today, motorcycle accident statistics show. Although cars come in second, you are 29 times more likely to die in an accident as a motorcycle rider than as a car driver.
You are probably already aware of how dangerous these machines can be, but the actual numbers might surprise you. Below, we round up some fascinating facts and numbers that you should know to help you stay safe on the road.
Motorcycle Accident Facts and Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Around 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death
- In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed on US roads
- 42% of motorcyclists who died in a single-vehicle crash in 2019 were alcoholics
- In 2019, 60% of women who died in crashes while riding a motorcycle were passengers
- 61% of fatal motorcycle accidents occur in urban areas
- Helmets reduce the risk of a head injury in a motorcycle crash by 69%
- 42% of motorcycle deaths happen as a result of a wrong turn
- Nearly 75% of all moto accidents involve a collision with another vehicle
Motorcycle Crash Statistics
1. Motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries than car passengers.
Motorcycle riders are at higher risk of being fatally injured during an accident than car drivers. Moreover, the data also show that they are 4 times more likely to be injured, with one of the reasons probably being the lack of some car safety features, such as airbags.
2. The motorcycle injury statistics show that around 80% of motorcycle crashes result in an injury or death.
As the report states, these injuries and deaths happen mostly due to the ejection from the motorcycle. In the event of a crash, a rider is thrown off the motorcycle and gets hurt because of the blow suffered during the fall.
3. Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.
The most common injuries motorcycle riders get are to the head and neck. According to these motorcycle crash statistics, 41.4% of all fatal injuries are head injuries. Other common injuries are to the ribs, internal organs, and extremities, which do not necessarily result in death.
4. Nearly 75% of all moto accidents involve a collision with another vehicle.
As HG reported, only one-quarter of motorcycle crashes happen with fixed objects. On the other hand, the vast majority of accidents happen with a moving vehicle, either a car, truck or another bike. A large number of motorcycle accidents can be problematic even without any major injuries or casualties. The problem can occur with paperwork, especially if uninsured vehicles are involved in the crash.
5. The average motorcycle speed before the crash is 29.8 mph.
The higher the speed, the greater the risk of an accident. The reason behind this is that the braking distance is shorter at high speeds. As a result, a rider has less time to react to any event on the road.
Motorcycle Deaths per Year
6. 91% of motorcyclists who die in a crash are male.
The latest data shows that out of this high percentage of male fatalities, a significant part were older men. More than a third of all casualties, 36% to be precise, were men older than 50.
7. In 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists were killed on the roads.
Although the number is quite high, it is a result of a downward trend, as the number was higher in the previous year. Motorcycle accident stats from the same report show that the total number of riders who died in an accident was 5,038 in 2018. Even though this is a slight drop, it can serve as a gleam of hope for the future.
8. In 2019, 60% of women who died in crashes while riding motorcycles were passengers.
This report also reveals that men were drivers in the majority of cases. Additionally, the rate of female drivers who died in a crash was lower—40%. From this, it can be concluded that the chances of dying on a motorcycle for women were higher than when they were drivers.
9. 30% of motorcyclists involved in a fatal accident in 2019 didn’t have a valid motorcycle license.
More than 20% of motorcycle riders involved in a fatal crash were the ones who had previous driving records. Compared to the drivers of other types of vehicles, motorcycle riders were 1.4 times more likely to have a record of license suspension or revocation and be a part of a fatal accident.
10. The motorcycle accident statistics show that 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2019.
The data from this report also shows there was an increase of 2% in motorcycle injuries compared to the number of them in 2018 when it was 82,000. Even though the increase is not extremely high, it is worrying to know that there are more and more accidents every year.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
11. 42% of motorcyclists who died in a single-vehicle crash in 2019 were alcoholics.
What is more, 29% of all motorcycle riders who died in crashes were alcohol-impaired, which is higher than drivers of cars (20%) and light trucks (19%). Among those, the highest percentage of motorcyclists were in the age group of 40–44 (40%), followed by the 35–39 age group (38%), motorcycle accident statistics from 2019 show.
12. 61.19% of fatal motorcycle accidents occur in urban areas.
There are higher chances of being involved in a fatal crash in urban areas than in rural ones. The risk of such an event in rural settings is just 38.81%. In fact, most accidents happen in the cities. One of the potential reasons could be that there is more traffic in such places and, therefore, more chances of being hit.
13. More than a third of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding.
Increased speed also raises the percentage of motorcycle accidents. Statistics provided by the NHTSA show that more than a third of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents exceeded the speed limit.
14. 42% of motorcycle deaths happen as a result of a wrong turn.
Although it may come as a surprise, a large percentage of fatal accidents happen due to wrong turns at intersections. A combination of busy traffic and lack of attention can have deadly consequences on motorcycle drivers, but also cyclists and pedestrians, as some car accident statistics state.
Motorcycle Safety Statistics
15. Helmets reduce the risk of a head injury in a motorcycle crash by 69%.
This essential piece of equipment can protect a rider from injury or even death in the majority of cases. It can withstand sharp blows and powerful crashes, thus reducing the risks of accident-related deaths in 37% of the situations.
16. 90% of open-wound foot or leg injuries can be prevented by wearing armored motorcycle boots.
One of the most useful motorcycle safety tips is to wear motorcycle boots. These are specially designed boots with outer protection around the feet, steel toe inserts for impact protection, and oil-resistant soles. In the majority of cases, they will take the force of the fall or protect your legs from a crash.
17. The rate of fatal crashes for motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes is 31% lower.
One of the better-known motorcycle safety facts is how vital the anti-lock braking system is. The sudden locking of wheels can be very dangerous, especially when riding at a high speed. It is a cause of many fatal accidents that can be prevented by choosing a model with this feature.
18. In the states with mandatory helmet laws, motorcyclists have fewer rates of head, facial, and brain injuries.
The same report presents several motorcycle helmet safety statistics that prove the efficiency of this piece of equipment. For example, the lives of 1,859 motorcyclists were saved in 2016 due to wearing helmets.
However, it was suggested in previous reports that wearing a helmet can increase the likelihood of cervical spine injury. These reports were disclaimed, stating that helmets don’t cause spine fractions but have many protective features instead.
Motorcycle Accident Facts for the US
19. If all motorcycle riders wore helmets, the United States would save more than $1 billion in economic costs.
Accidents bring high medical costs, loss of lives, and injured workers who are unable to work. All this negatively influences the economy of the US.
Unfortunately, as the number of motorcycles on the roads rises, so do the motorcycle accident rates. Major savings could be made if riders wore helmets primarily for their own sake, as helmets could protect them from injuries and/or death.
20. Mississippi, Texas, and South Carolina are the US states with the highest rate of motorcycle deaths.
Mississippi faces a major problem with speeding and drunk driving. These two issues are the most important reasons it is on top of the list when data about motorcycle fatalities by the state are presented.
Texas and South Carolina follow Mississippi mainly due to the open area and curvy roads in these states. The feeling of freedom when driving in such an environment may lower the focus on the road and lead to riders paying less attention to their ride. For this reason, it is recommended for the people of South Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi to insure their vehicles and concentrate on the road.
21. More than 80% of Americans believe mandatory helmet laws should be passed.
Most Americans believe that one of the ways to improve motorcycle death statistics and lower the number of casualties is to wear a helmet. To achieve that, a law should be passed to make wearing helmets mandatory.
22. Only 18 US states and the District of Columbia mandate that all riders use helmets.
Surprisingly, even though more than 80% of Americans are in favor of mandatory helmet wearing, not every state has passed this law. As posted on the IIHS website in 2021, less than half of the states made helmet wearing obligatory.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics—Bottom Line
As can be seen from the statistics discussed in this text, the rate of motorcycle accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, rises every year. There are many causes of this, but most of them are related to motorcycle riders themselves. Speeding, lack of protective gear, and alcohol are some of the reasons so many lives are lost on the road.
Therefore, it is important to educate people and raise awareness of the importance of cautious driving. By focusing on this problem and passing new laws, we can help significantly lower the number of injuries and casualties.
People Also Ask
What percentage of motorcycle riders get in an accident?
As mentioned earlier in our article, you are 29 times more likely to have a motorcycle than a car accident. In fact, there are about 89,000 motorcycle accidents on the roads per year in the US. When the number of registered motorcycles is taken into consideration, it shows that 1% of all riders in the US get involved in an accident. However, many minor accidents are left unreported, and therefore, they are not a part of these statistics.
What percentage of motorcyclists die?
In the US, about 14% of motorcyclists died in 2018 either at the moment of the crash or due to sustained injuries. Furthermore, according to one report, 5,014 riders died in 2019. This number doubled when compared to the statistics from 1997 (2,116 deaths).
The majority of deaths occurred in multiple-vehicle accidents (75%). The rest of the casualties (25%) were consequences of single-vehicle crashes.
What is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents?
Although speeding, reckless driving, and alcohol use are thought to be the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents, this is not the case. Vehicles making left turns pose the most serious threat to motorcyclists. An accident happens when drivers want to pass another vehicle or make a turn and fail to see a motorcycle on the left. The best way for riders to protect themselves is to be alert when in traffic and try to anticipate what other vehicles might do.
How likely are you to die in a motorcycle accident?
Generally speaking, motorcyclists are at a higher risk of being in a fatal accident than car drivers per mile traveled. To be more specific, there are 35 times more chances that you will have an accident riding a motorcycle than driving a car. In fact, the fatality rate of motorcycle riders is 72 per 100,000 riders. So, the likelihood of dying in a motorcycle accident is quite high.
How dangerous is motorcycle riding?
Based on the data already mentioned in this text, we can see that motorcycle riding is more dangerous than driving other vehicles. Some of the reasons could be that motorcycles don’t have airbags or steel frames to protect you, or they are smaller and thus less visible in traffic.
Although there are some situations you as a rider can’t control, you can lower the chances of having an accident with some simple actions. Some of the things you can do are wearing protective equipment, respecting the speed limit, and not drinking and driving. By doing so, the danger of motorcycle riding can be significantly decreased.
Is a motorcycle worth the risk?
There is no correct answer to this question, as it depends on the person riding it. Although many risks are involved, there are also some benefits.If operated properly, riding a motorcycle can be a fun and exciting experience. Not having the frame surrounding you can make you feel exhilarated and free as a bird. It is vital to take these motorcycle accident statistics into consideration and be responsible and aware of your surroundings to protect yourself and the people around you.