Motorcycle Accident Statistics: The Fatal Dangers of Riding

dangerous motorcycle accidents

Motorcycles have always been synonymous with danger because of the alarming accident statistics that are connected with them. When motorcycles are involved in accidents with another vehicle, 77% are struck in the front and only 7% are struck from behind and approximately 47% of these accidents are fatal to the motorcyclist. More than half of these fatal accidents are caused by the other vehicle turning left, and 75% of all accidents involving another vehicle are caused by the drivers’ failure to see the motorcycle before the collision.

Half of motorcycle fatalities in single vehicle crashes are related to problems negotiating a curve prior to a crash. Almost 60% of fatal single vehicle crashes occur at night and 35% of the deceased motorcycle riders were speeding at the time. According to NHTSA’s statistics of 25% for motorcycles, 19% for cars, and 18% for trucks; motorcycles are substantially more likely than other vehicles to be involved in a fatal accident involving a stationary object, such as a lamp post, wall, concrete barrier etc. Fatal motorcycle accidents are more likely to be alcohol-related than any other type of motor vehicle accident, with 43% of single-motorcycle accidents involving a driver with a BAC over the legal limit of .08. The majority of these kinds of accidents show considerable collision avoidance, including failure to brake, over-braking, or lack of ability to counter-steer.

Injuries cause by motorcycle accidents can be vast and mainly depend on the type of accident and the circumstances surrounding it. A concussion and brain damage is caused by the head making violent contact with another vehicle or object. Wearing a safety helmet reduces the risk of death by 37%. Other common injuries include the breakage of joints in elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists. The extremities are particularly vulnerable because of the riders’ immediate instinct to break their fall using their arms and/or legs. Soft tissue (skin and muscle) damage or “road rash” is also common because of how the body slides across the surface after a crash. This kind of injury can be avoided by wearing the proper riding apparel such as a riding jacket and sturdy pants. A less common injury known as “biker’s arm” has been known to happen, where the nerves in the upper arm are damaged and cause permanent paralysis. Also, if a rider is not wearing a helmet at the time of collision, they may suffer facial disfigurement, most commonly to the chin and jaw.

According to statistics, if a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident, the likelihood of injury is incredibly high: 98% of multiple motor vehicle accidents and 96% of single vehicle accidents resulted in serious injury. Of those percentages, 45% escaped with only a minor injury. As always, the best way to avoid injury is to not be involved in an accident in the first place. This is best achieved by being wary of other drivers, not taking unnecessary risks, and obeying the rules of the road at all times.

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5 Responses to Motorcycle Accident Statistics: The Fatal Dangers of Riding

  1. Shoei X-12 Review says:

    I’m picking up an out of state motorcycle this Friday and riding it back home. I’m flying from Dulles and I want to bring my helmet as carry on luggage. Is that allowed?.

  2. I didn’t know that.

  3. Richard says:

    IG 2011 STATISTIC: 77% of riders are struck in the front and only 7% are struck from behind

    This is the exact opposite of a road bike accident report where most hits are from the back or side. Which means, being in the center of a lane is safer than being on the outside edge for recognition / visibility.

    A 55% left hand turn incident report means car drivers are not seeing the motorcyclist. Which means one of a few things are happening and all of them relate directly to a visible footprint.

    The best way to increase your visibility:

    Bright color helmet (Highest point of visibility needs to “not blend” with your background)

    Bright color or highlight color in jacket / top (center mass is largest visible area)

    Not weaving in and out of traffic (your visible footprint becomes more elusive for other drivers)

    Low Profile – sport bikes are designed for low profile bike and rider positions (tuck) by elimination wind drag. This decreases the visible mass of both the bike and rider. If you couple that information with aggressive (lane changing) driving, you create more risk, as your visibility footprint decreases for other drivers. The way risk can be lowered for sport bikes is by being less aggressive and by defensive driving. Sport bikes are also very agile and have great braking and handling. This type of bike, with an experienced rider, can avoid challenges that say 700 lbs Harley’s cannot.

    Cruisers and Choppers – since 77% of motorcycle accidents are bikes struck from the front, the nice bright paint jobs on choppers and Harley’s are rarely visible to the offending car driver. Now, take into account that 85% of CC riders wear brown or black leather and dark color helmets, or no helmets, and you have a significantly reduced visible footprint to the potential offending drivers to your front. If both rider and cycle blend into their environment, by having earth tone colors, you have a potential issue. If you layer on the lack of agility (compared to other cycles) of a cruiser or chopper, you have fewer accident avoidance opportunities and a reduced visibilty footprint.

    I believe these reasons define why motorcycle accidents and deaths are significantly reduced in Europe. They should be statistically much higher based on the population per square mile, when compared to the US.
    The vast majority of full size cycles are Touring bikes
    Riders sit up higher on touring bikes, showing more visible area
    Touring bikes are more agile than Cruisers and Choppers, helping avoid accidents
    Riders tend to wear brighter gear in Europe
    95% of riders wear helmets. (Mandatory in all European Union Countries)

  4. Pingback: The Mommy up the Street is a Biker Chick | theloop

  5. Nat says:

    My boyfriend wants a motorbike

    but i don’t want him to get one T-T

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