Although motorcycle accidents are not more common than other motor vehicle crashes, they can be more devastating and shocking. They can also be caused in some cases by unique circumstances. Numerous studies and surveys have revealed some fascinating facts and statistics regarding motorcycle accidents.
1. About 3/4 of all motorcycle accidents involve collisions between another vehicle, most commonly a passenger car.
2. About 1/4 of motorcycle accidents involve a single vehicle collision involving the motorcycle with the road or a fixed object.
3. Motorcycle accidents are less than 3% due to vehicle failure. Most of these accidents involve single vehicles where the driver loses control because of a puncture.
4. About 2/3 of single-vehicle accidents are caused due to rider error. This includes a slide-out or fall from overbraking, or running too wide on curves due to excessive speed or under-cornering.
5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) Only 2% of motorcycle accidents are caused by road defects. Animals account for just 1%.
6. Two-thirds of multiple-vehicle accidents occur when another vehicle violates the motorcycle’s right to use.
7. Motorcycle accidents are mainly caused by motorists’ inability to recognize and detect motorcycles while driving. The other driver involved in the collision with the motorcycle didn’t see the motorcycle or the motorcycle too late to avoid it.
8. A motorist may take a hostile attitude towards a motorcycle rider in a deliberate attack. This is an uncommon accident cause. Most often, the motorcycle travels straight ahead while the car in front makes a left turn.
10. Motorcycle accidents are most common at intersections. The other vehicle may violate the motorcycle’s right of way and sometimes other traffic control (e.g. changing lanes, running a light or stop sign), ).
11. Weather does not play a role in 98% of motorcycle crashes.
12. Most motorcycle accidents happen during a short trip that involves shopping, errands or friends. These trips usually occur very soon after the start of the trip.
13. In almost half of multi-vehicle accidents, the view of the motorcycle or other vehicle involved in an accident is obstructed or limited by glare.
14. Multiple vehicle accidents are often caused by motorcycle visibility and conspicuousness. Motorcycle headlamps can be used in daylight to reduce the risk of being in an accident. Jackets that are high-visibility yellow, orange, or bright red can also be worn.
15. Sixty-two percent of motorcycle accidents occurred in the post crash phase. This presents an unusually high fire risk that is not seen in other motor vehicle accidents.
16. A motorcycle’s average speed before an accident is 29.8 mph. It is 21.5 mph when it is struck by a vehicle. Only 1/1000 cases have a speed of around 86 mph.
17. The pre-crash lines of a typical motorcycle to the traffic hazard are not affected by peripheral vision. More than 3/4 of all accidents hazards are within 45 degrees of straight ahead.
18. For the frontal surfaces of the bike and the rider, conspicuousness is key.
19. Deficient or defective maintenance can cause vehicle defects that are caused by accidents. They are uncommon and unlikely to occur.
20. The accident statistics show that motorcycle riders aged 16-24 are more likely to be involved in an accident than those between 30 and 50. The majority of motorcycle riders involved in accidents are men (96%), but the accident data shows that female passengers riding on motorcycles are significantly underrepresented.
22. Most of those involved in an accident with a motorcycle are students, workers, and craftsmen. Underrepresented are professionals, sales people, and craftsmen.
23. The accident data shows that motorcycle riders who have had recent traffic citations or accidents are significantly overrepresented.
24. Motorcycle riders who are involved in an accident with their motorcycles do not have any training. 92% of them were either self-taught, or received help from friends and family. Experience as a motorcycle rider reduces accident involvement, and it is associated with fewer injuries in the event that an accident occurs.
25. While more than half of accident-involved motorcyclists had less than five months riding on an accident motorcycle, the average street rider experience was nearly three years. The accident data shows that dirtbike riders are significantly underrepresented among motorcycle riders.
26. Motorcyclists who are not paying attention to their driving tasks are more likely to be involved in an accident.
27. Nearly half of all fatal accidents involve alcohol.
28. These accidents resulted in serious collision avoidance issues for motorcycle riders. Many riders would skid and overbrake their rear wheels, while underbraking the front wheel significantly reduced collision avoidance deceleration. It was virtually impossible to countersteer or swerve.
29. Motorcyclists have less than two seconds to avoid collision in a typical motorcycle accident.
30. In the accident area, motorcycles that can be used by passengers are not as common.
31. Other than the fact that there are more motorcycle-riding drivers involved in collisions with vehicles, these drivers aren’t much different from other accident victims. These drivers don’t know much about motorcycles, and aren’t licensed to ride motorcycles.
32. Large displacement motorcycles are often underrepresented in accidents, but they are more likely to be involved in serious accidents.
33. Although the studies did not identify any correlation between motorcycle color and accident data it is likely that the impact on the other vehicle in the collision will be minimal.
34. Motorcycles with windshields or fairings are less likely to be involved in an accident. This is probably due to their conspicuousness and association with more experienced and skilled riders.
35. In motorcycle accidents, motorcycle riders who don’t have a motorcycle license or have had their license revoked or suspended are greatly overrepresented.
36. Accidents involving motorcycle modifications such as the semi-chopper and cafe racers are extremely high.
37. Motorcycle accidents are very dangerous. 98% of motorcycle crashes involved multiple vehicles, 96% involved single vehicles. 45% of motorcycle accidents caused serious injuries.
38. Motorcyclists sustain half of all injuries. These include the lower leg, ankle, knee and thigh-upper legs.
39. Crash bars do not provide an effective injury prevention tool. The ankle-foot injury is reduced, but the knee and thigh-upper legs are more severely injured.
40. Heavy boots, jackets, gloves, and other protective gear are effective in preventing or decreasing abrasions, lacerations, and other minor injuries.
41. Motorcyclists sustained groin injuries in at least 13% accidents. This was due to multiple vehicles colliding in frontal collision at higher speeds than the average.
42. The severity of injuries increases with speed, alcohol consumption, and motorcycle size.
43. 73% of accident-involved motorcyclists did not use any eye protection. It is possible that the wind on the eyes caused impairment which delayed detection of hazards.
44. About half of all motorcycle riders wear safety helmets. Only 40% of motorcycle riders involved in an accident were wearing helmets at time of accident.
45. The voluntary helmet use of accident-involved motorcycle rider was at its lowest level for young, untrained motorcycle riders who were on hot days or short trips.
46. Accident victims who sustained injuries to their chests and heads were the most fatal.
47. Safety helmets are the most important factor in preventing head injuries.
48. Safety helmets did not cause attenuation or limitation of pre-crash visual fields, fatigue, or loss of attention. Helmet use was not associated with accident causation.
49. Increased protection and reduced injuries are possible due to the helmet’s full facial coverage.
52. Helmeted riders sustained fewer neck injuries compared to unhelmeted.
53. Only 10% of the motorcycle riders who were involved in an accident had any type of insurance to cover medical expenses or property replacement.
A personal injury lawyer should be contacted if you were involved in a motorcycle crash that wasn’t your fault. An attorney can provide a free consultation and a case analysis. An attorney who specializes in personal injury can help you get more relief than you could on your own. They can also guide you through the process for making claims to other drivers’ insurance companies.