Whether it’s a long road trip or a short drive across town, riding a motorcycle can be a lot of fun. However, if you get careless, your innocent ride can end in tragedy.
Motorcycle accidents tend to be deadlier than car accidents, mainly because the motorcyclist rides out in the open rather than inside a metal cage, so to speak.
That said, don’t let this fact keep you away from the activity you enjoy the most. Instead, learn the dangers associated with riding a motorcycle and, more importantly, tips on how to avoid them and stay safe on the road.
Must-Know Motorcycle Accident Statistics (Editor’s Pick):
- Motorcycles represented 14% of the traffic-related deaths in 2019
- In 2019, around nine in ten motorcyclists who lost their lives in crashes were males
- Less than one in ten motorcyclists involved in crashes have insurance
- In 2019, most motorcyclists who died in accidents were aged 25–29
- A quarter of motorcycle deaths happen because of collisions with fixed objects
- Riders’ errors cause almost 66% of single-vehicle motorcycle crashes
- Wet weather accounts for nearly a third of motorcycle accidents
- Almost 75% of moto crashes involve a collision with another vehicle
Local Motorcycle Accidents
1. A motorcyclist has less than two seconds to complete all collision avoidance actions in an accident.
(Orlando Injury Lawyer)
Two seconds. That’s hardly enough time when you are sober, let alone inebriated. Furthermore, weather conditions such as rain and wind also lead to a motorcyclist wiping out because of slippery and often poorly maintained roads.
2. 5,014 motorcycle riders were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2019.
This number represented a slight decrease in motorcycle accidents per year, compared to the year before when there were 5,038 such fatalities. Then again, around 84,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries in 2019, representing a 2% rise from the previous year.
3. In 2019, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of yearly traffic-related deaths.
Per vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcycle deaths happened almost 29 times more commonly than passenger car occupant deaths in traffic accidents.
Believe it or not, motorcycle death statistics indicate that three in ten motorcycle riders involved in deadly accidents in 2019 were riding with no valid motorcycle licenses.
4. Crotch rocket motorcycle riders have a four times higher traffic death rate than drivers of other motorcycles.
(Michigan Auto Law)
Built for racing and modified for roadways, this supersport bike can reach speeds up to 180 mph and are extremely popular among drivers under 30.
However, too much power, and the inexperience of many supersport motorcycle riders, make them incredibly dangerous on the open road.
US Motorcycle Fatality Rate in 2019
5. Motorcycle deaths were the highest in Florida and the lowest in the District of Columbia in 2019.
More specifically, 591 people lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in Florida that year. California wasn’t that far behind Florida, with 474 people dying in motorcycle accidents.
On the other hand, only three such fatalities occurred in the District of Columbia, according to stats on fatal motorcycle accidents.
6. In 2019, 91% of killed motorcyclists were males.
That translates to females representing only 9% of these fatalities. Moreover, six in ten female motorcyclists who lost their lives in 2019 were passengers, and their deaths accounted for 91% of the passenger deaths.
7. In 2019, 57% of killed motorcyclists weren’t wearing helmets in states without universal helmet laws.
In contrast, motorcycle helmet statistics reveal that only 9% of killed motorcyclists weren’t wearing a helmet in states with universal helmet laws.
Generally speaking, helmets are 41% effective in preventing deaths to motorcycle passengers and 37% to motorcycle riders. Putting it differently, for every 100 motorcycle riders without helmets killed in accidents, 37 could have been saved if all 100 wore helmets.
8. According to stats on motorcycle accidents, most motorcyclists killed in accidents were aged 25–29 in 2019.
In detail, that was the case for 674 people in this age group. The second age group with the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities was 60–69, with 640 such fatalities.
On the other side of the spectrum, people under 16 represented the age group with the fewest motorcyclist fatalities (28).
9. In 2019, 34% of motorcycle fatalities occurred at intersections.
The most likely places for motorcycle fatalities weren’t intersections. As a matter of fact, in 2019, two-thirds of these deaths occurred in places that weren’t intersections. In addition, most of them (57%) happened in daylight.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and Deaths
10. 25% of motorcycle deaths occur because of collisions with fixed objects.
(Georgia Injury Lawyer)
Running into objects causes nearly a quarter of motorcyclist fatalities, compared to 18% of car crash deaths.
However, the fact that such accidents are more dangerous for bikers is not surprising. Since a steel frame doesn’t protect them, they are more likely to get thrown far and hard and sustain deadly injuries.
11. More than 3 out of 10 motorcycle accidents involve one vehicle.
Compared to other drivers, motorcyclists have a considerably higher number of single-vehicle accidents. While approximately 34% of motorbike crashes involve no other vehicle, only around 19% of car crashes are single-vehicle accidents.
12. The rider’s error causes nearly two-thirds of single-vehicle motorcycle crashes.
The majority of these accidents occur because of driving errors such as slide-out and fall because of over-braking or negotiating a curve at high speed, according to causes of motorcycle accidents statistics.
13. Less than 3% of moto accidents occur because of vehicle failure, such as a flat tire.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) advises bikers to run a quick pre-ride inspection before each ride.
To make it easier to remember what to inspect, the MSF came up with the acronym T-CLOCS. It stands for:
- tires and wheels (T)
- controls (C)
- lights and electrics (L)
- oil & other fluids (O)
- chassis (C)
- stands (S)
14. Nearly 75% of all moto accidents involve a collision with another vehicle.
(Sacramento Law Group)
Most of these multiple vehicle accidents involve passenger vehicles, such as cars.
Moreover, motorcycle vs. car accident statistics from 2020 note that a lot of these crashes resulting from the car driver’s error occur due to the driver not seeing the motorcyclist. This happens primarily because of an obstructed view.
15. In 2019, 42% of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle accidents were alcohol-impaired.
Motorcycles are great fun to ride, but your joy ride can quickly turn ugly if you mix drinking and driving. In 2019, motorcycle riders involved in deadly accidents had higher percentages of alcohol (29%) than drivers of other motor vehicles.
Moreover, motorcyclists who lost their lives in crashes at night in 2019 were nearly three times more frequently alcohol-impaired than the ones killed during the day.
16. Almost 33% of motorcycle accidents are caused by wet weather.
(Harold Gerr Law)
Negligence, not bad weather, causes the bulk of bike accidents. Nevertheless, motorcyclists should avoid riding in inclement weather or, if they must, take adequate precautions before hitting the road, such as running a thorough pre-ride inspection.
17. Speeding was a factor in 33% of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019.
In short, speed thrills but kills. Additionally, motorcyclists aged 21–24 involved in fatal accidents had the highest speeding involvement — almost 50%. Take the cue and respect speed limits, always.
Motorcycle Safety Statistics
18. In 2019, 48% of the motorcycle fatalities happened at the weekend.
According to the NHTSA, most of these weekend motorcycle accidents (601) happened between 6 PM and 9 PM. In fact, 25% of all dangerous accidents occurred in this window of time.
Avoiding the road at this time may not be an option, so just focus on staying visible and vigilant.
19. 92% of motorcyclists involved in crashes learned to ride on their own or with the help of a friend or family member.
Statistics on motorcycle accidents underline the importance of taking a motorcycle safety course, which can help lower the risk of a crash in novice riders.
Motorcycle coaching may also bring your motorcycle insurance premium down, which is an added, but not an insignificant, benefit.
20. 45% of motorcycle crashes result in more than a minor injury.
(The Barnes Firm, LearnYourRights)
The chances of getting injuries in a bike accident are incredibly high. Moreover, motorcycle injury statistics point out that the motorcycle rider sustains some sort of injury in about 98% of multiple vehicle crashes and somewhere around 96% of single-vehicle crashes.
21. Motorcycle helmets lower the risk of head injury by around 69% and the risk of death by almost 50%.
(WMIR, AGV Sport)
Like we said, helmets save lives, which has been proven in recent motorcycle accidents. Wear one before you hit the road. But mind you, not all helmets are equally good. You should always go for DOT-certified helmets.
These helmets meet or exceed the safety standards set by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Also, they offer additional protection, helping you avoid serious injury in the event of a crash.
22. Motorcycle helmets prevent $17 billion in societal harm per year, as per motorcycle accident statistics.
On top of that, another $8 billion in harm could be saved if every motorcycle rider wore a helmet. Furthermore, 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws on helmet use, and these laws are the most effective countermeasure for increasing the use of helmets.
23. Unhelmeted Wisconsin riders are twice as likely to suffer cervical spine injuries than bikers who wear helmets.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison collected data on the worst motorcycle accidents and found that the spinal injury incidence rate was twice as likely in bikers who didn’t wear a helmet.
Considering that riding a motorcycle without a helmet has serious consequences, one wonders why so many US states haven’t made helmets compulsory for all riders.
Is it because people don’t want such a rule? Or is it because authorities don’t understand the benefits of a universal helmet law?
24. Less than 10% of motorcyclists involved in accidents have insurance, as per motorcycle accident statistics from 2020.
All states in the US, except Florida, require motorcycle owners to have some sort of motorcycle insurance. However, the state-mandated coverage hardly proves sufficient in case of an accident.
That’s why adding PIP (if available in your state), and collision or comprehensive coverage to your policy is always a good idea. The former covers medical bills and lost wages, while the latter pays to repair and replace your motorcycle.
The rate of severe motorcycle accidents today is significantly higher than car accidents, despite cars dominating the road. Since motorcycles are unenclosed vehicles, riders are less protected from various hazards and more likely to sustain a severe injury in the event of a mishap.
So how can bikers stay safe?
Wearing proper safety gear and staying vigilant can make a world of difference. Naturally, adequate motorcycle insurance coverage comes in really handy when something bad happens.
People Also Ask
Many factors contribute to motorcycle accidents. Some of the primary motorcycle accident causes are reckless driving, alcohol use, and speeding. That said, there’s a high chance of crashes occurring when driving aggressively, speeding, driving distracted, or drunk.
In detail, a quarter of motorcycle fatalities happen because of collisions with fixed objects. Moreover, in 2019, around 66% of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents occurred due to the rider’s error.
On top of that, 42% of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2019 were alcohol-impaired.
In the United States, there are about 89,000 motorcycle crashes annually. Considering the number of registered motorcyclists, a little over 1% of them are involved in motorcycle crashes every year.
Then again, not all motorcycle accidents (especially the minor ones) are reported, meaning the actual numbers are higher. Out of the ones reported, over 5,000 are fatal crashes, and the rest include severe injuries.
There’s no such thing as a minor motorbike crash. Since motorcyclists lack the surrounding protective structure of other vehicles, they are more likely to sustain severe injuries, or even fatal ones, after a crash.
Namely, motorcycle fatalities occurred nearly 29 times more frequently compared to passenger car occupant deaths in crashes in 2019. Furthermore, motorcyclists are also five times more likely to sustain an injury.
All motors aren’t created equal. As some cars are more dangerous than others, the same goes for motorbikes. Namely, some of the motorcycles which are more commonly involved in crashes are cruisers.
Moreover, street bikes and MX/Enduro motorcycles also account for a high number of crashes. Let’s not forget about supersport bikes, whose riders are not only more likely to be in motorcycle accidents but also bad ones.