Thousands of motorcycle accidents occur each year in the United States. Those who ride motorcycles have a much higher chance of being injured or killed in an accident than those who ride cars. Several factors can contribute to motorcycle accidents. Some of these include the time of day and weather conditions.
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Motorcycles make up about 3% of the registered vehicles in the United States. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that there were 5,000 motorcycle accidents in the United States in 2010. The average age of those killed in traffic crashes was 42 in 2011. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that there will be approximately 84,000 motorcycle accidents with injuries in 2019.
Motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in an accident than those riding cars and trucks. Motorcycles are also less stable than other vehicles, making them more likely to be thrown hard or suffer severe injuries. Motorcycles are also more likely to be involved in crashes, which may be caused by distracted drivers.
Motorcycles are also more likely to be involved in fatal crashes when other vehicles are involved. Over 75% of fatal motorcycle crashes involve head-on collisions. Another common cause of motorcycle crashes is failing to yield the right of way when turning. Many accidents occur at intersections. The most common causes of these crashes are speeding and running red lights. Speeding is also a contributing factor to fatal crashes.
Motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur at night than during the day. Half of the fatal motorcycle accidents occur during the weekend. The National Safety Council estimates that 12 million vehicle accidents occur annually. The number of fatal crashes has decreased in the last decade. The most recent statistics show that fewer fatalities are occurring during the winter months when fewer people are riding motorcycles.
Speeding is a contributing factor in many motorcycle crashes. More than one in five motorcycles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Motorcycles also accounted for over half of all two-vehicle fatal crashes. The majority of two-vehicle crashes involving fatalities occurred in urban areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycles are more likely to be involved in crashes with other vehicles if there is a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or higher. This is because a high blood alcohol concentration impairs drivers’ reaction time.
The 55-and-older age group was responsible for 23 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2011. The group had a 37 percent increase in motorcyclist fatalities from 2011 to 2020. The 25-to-29 age group was responsible for the lowest rate of motorcyclist fatalities on weekdays in 2020.
Approximately 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injuries. There were approximately 3,200 motorcycle accidents with injuries in the United States in 2020. The number of motorcycle injuries increased slightly from the previous year.
Female motorcyclists were responsible for approximately 91% of passenger deaths. The majority of motorcycle fatalities occurred on major non-interstate highways. However, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents on the interstate was lower than the number of fatalities on non-interstate highways.