motorcycle accidents

What Percentage of Motorcyclists Have an Accident?

What Percentage of Motorcyclists Have an Accident?

Motorcycle riders are more prone to accidents. There are several reasons why they are unsafe on the road as compared to a car. Motorcycles are widely considered an unsafe mode of transport due to being less protective. They are open and exposed to the external environment. Motorcycles don’t have airbags and seat belts.

Another factor that makes motorcycles more unsafe than cars is their unmatched agility. They are much lighter than cars and can, therefore, reach their top speeds in less time. They accelerate quickly as compared to cars which makes them highly risky for riders.

On the other hand, cars have an enclosed solid structure. They are fitted with tons of safety features to keep the rider safe in the event of an accident. Seat belts and airbags play a crucial role in keeping the car driver and passengers safe.

To find out whether a motorcycle is a more dangerous mode of transport, you must know the statistics. Continue reading this article to learn what percentage of motorcyclists have an accident. This article also explores the common causes/factors of motorcycle accidents and how to stay safe from getting involved in motorcycle accidents. 

1. What Percentage of Motorcycle Riders Get In Accidents?

The statistics involving motorcycle accidents in the U.S. are an important factor to learn about how safe the environment is for riders. In most cases, the statistics portray a clear picture of how safe a particular U.S. state is for motorcycle riders. It also tells how good are the traffic laws and how well they are implemented in a certain state.

Talking about the number of registered motorcycles in the country, there are more than 8.3 million bikes in the U.S. The number increases a great deal with every passing year. Though cars are more commonly seen on the roads, the number of motorcycle riders is increasing at a rapid pace. It also results in a higher probability of road accidents.

On average, more than 89,000 accidents involving a motorcycle are reported in the U.S. If you compare this number with the number of registered motorcycles in the U.S., the percentage of riders getting involved in accidents is around 1.07% .

Not to forget, a large number of minor motorcycle accidents don’t get reported. Out of 89,000 accidents, almost 5,000 are considered to be fatal, involving deaths. There is a high number of motorcycle accidents that result in severe injuries as well.

2. Important Motorcycle Accidents Statistics

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in a crash than car drivers and passengers.
  • 2021 was considered the worst year for motorcyclists. According to the National Safety Council, the highest number of casualties resulting from motorcycle accidents (5,932 deaths) were reported this year.
  • In 2021, more than 83,000 riders were injured in motorcycle accidents (National Safety Council).
  • According to the NHTSA, more than one-third (36%) of motorcycle accidents involve unlicensed riders.
  • Helmets are found to be 37% effective in avoiding fatalities (NHTSA).
  • According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, August is considered the most dangerous month for motorcyclists. More than 12% of life-threatening motorcycle accidents occur during this month.
  • Out of all the fatalities resulting from road accidents, motorcycle riders account for 14% of total deaths (National Safety Council).
  • Around 2,251 fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents involve riders who were not wearing a helmet (National Safety Council).
  • As per NHTSA, almost 34% of total deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents occurred due to speeding.
  • Around 27% of total fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents occurred due to alcohol consumption (NHTSA).
  • Almost 76% of the motorcycle accidents involved riders hitting from the front (NHTSA).
  • Approximately 65% of motorcycle riders wear a DOT-approved helmet (NHTSA).
Important Motorcycle Accidents Statistics
Data Source: NHTSA

3. Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in the U.S.

3.1 Smaller Size/Less Visible

The main risk that motorcyclists are exposed to is being less visible to other drivers on the road. The most frequent collisions are those in which a car turns left and ends up hitting a motorcycle.

Statistics show that this is true in almost half of all accidents involving a motorcycle. This is because motorcycles are relatively smaller in size compared to cars. They can easily get in the blind spot of a car, particularly at an intersection.

3.2 Speeding Aggressively/Maneuvering Dangerously

Motorcycle riders aggressively speeding on the roads is another major cause of accidents. The risk of a motorcycle accident increases when a rider engages in dangerous maneuvers. Unsafe maneuvers such as sharp turns, swerving, or lane changing without a proper signal can be sometimes dangerous.

Cars are heavier and have different handling characteristics compared to motorcycles. The unsafe lane changes and maneuvers can quickly result in crashing.

3.3 Alcohol or Substance Abuse

Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited. These substances notably result in slow reaction time and bad judgments. They make it difficult for riders to react to the difficult situations on the road.

3.4 Bad Weather Conditions

Bad weather conditions are also a cause of motorcycle accidents . Rain, snow, and high-speed winds make roads become slippery and reduce visibility. Such conditions require riders to be more cautious when they are on the road.

3.5 Lack of Training and Experience

Being inexperienced is also one of the causes of motorcycle accidents. This means that new riders are more vulnerable to motorcycle crashes.

4. Essential Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle provides a sense of freedom. However, the fun and thrill of riding a motorbike comes at a cost. By following the below essential tips, you can avoid getting involved in an accident:

  • The most fundamental safety measure is the use of helmets. Helmets are lifesavers. Studies indicate that they lower the likelihood of head injury by 69% and the chances of death by 37%. Only wear a DOT-approved helmet that fits perfectly on your head and is in good condition.
  • Next comes protective gear. Though a helmet covers your head, the rest of the body also needs protection. It is recommended to wear a motorcycle jacket, pants, gloves, and boots while riding.
  • Your riding gear must be made of abrasion-resistant materials such as leather or textile fabrics. These materials offer good support, especially in situations where riders may slide or fall from the motorcycle.
  • Improving your visibility is also an important consideration. Motorcycle accidents occur because other drivers find it difficult to notice your motorcycle’s presence on the road. Here are some ways to improve your visibility:
    • Daytime Headlight: Switch on your motorcycle’s headlight even during the day. This will make you more visible on the road.
    • Bright Clothing: Select brightly-colored neon jackets, riding vests, or reflective clothing to enhance your visibility.
    • Lane Positioning: Always avoid being in the blind spot of other drivers on the road by positioning yourself strategically on the road.
  • Perform a quick safety check before you go for a ride. Check the tire pressure. Ensure that the brakes, lights, and turn signals are working properly.
  • Through regularly maintaining your motorcycle, the safety risks that arise from mechanical failure are greatly reduced.
  • When the weather is bad, the rider must slow down, increase following distances, and not attempt any quick movements. If the weather is extreme, you should travel later.
  • It is also important to follow all the traffic laws and ride sensibly.
  • Riding defensively is a key to safety. Be prepared and anticipate any potential dangers created by other vehicles.
  • The risk of motorcycle accidents can be considerably reduced by completing a safety riding course.

With these fundamental safety tips, the risks of motorcycle accidents can be minimized. Safety is not an option, it is the responsibility of every rider.

5. The Bottom Line

Riding a motorcycle can be a dangerous experience if you don’t follow the traffic laws and ride safely. The statistics may not be frightening but the alarming fact is that the number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities are increasing with every passing year. Also, motorcycle accidents are quite fatal as the rider is more exposed than cars. There is also a lack of protection keeping the rider intact in place or safe from impacts.

Therefore, only riding responsibly and sensibly can help riders stay safe on the road. Wearing proper riding safety gear and getting safety training are of paramount importance. Follow all the above-mentioned safety riding tips to avoid being involved in motorcycle accidents.

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