How many motorcycle accidents per year? Motorcycles are, by their design, far less crash-worthy than closed vehicles. Motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to the hazards of weather and road conditions that drivers in closed vehicles. They are also less visible to other drivers and pedestrians and less stable than four-wheel vehicles.
Additionally, operating a motorcycle requires a different combination of physical and mental skills than those used in driving cars and trucks.
How many motorcycle accidents per year?
Motorcycles are more susceptible to weather conditions, and riders are more likely to be injured or worse. In 2020 alone, 5,579 motorcyclists and passengers were killed and 84,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2020, considering that motorcycles only made up 3% of all registered vehicles in the country, they contributed 14% of all traffic fatalities.
The most fatalities from motorcycle crashes occurred in 2016 and 2020, with decade-high numbers of 5,337 and 5,579, respectively. Fortunately, we’ve seen a consistent downward trend since then. Still, it’s important to note that the numbers are still above 5,000.
Regarding injuries, we see the highest numbers in 2012 and 2016. In 2017 and 2018, there were fewer injuries but figures increased by 2.39% from 2018 to 2019. Numbers dropped by 1.53% in 2020.
It’s crucial to note that injuries have never dropped below 81,000 in any given year in the last decade.
Motorcycle fatalities by State
The number of fatalities varies between states. In 2020, for example, Florida had more than 500 incidents reported, while the District of Columbia only had seven. MoneyGeek’s guide shows which states contributed more fatalities than others. Darker-colored ones are those with higher figures. Conversely, those in lighter shades experience fewer motorcycle accident fatalities.
Florida, California, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the states with the highest number of fatalities. They contributed to around 37% of motorcycle accident deaths in 2020, despite laws requiring riders to wear helmets.
Out of the five states with the highest fatalities, only California and North Carolina enacted universal helmet laws for all riders, regardless of age. For the other three states, the regulation only applies to riders younger than 20.
Fortunately, Vermont, Alaska and the District of Columbia each reported less than ten fatalities in 2020.
Motorcyclist fatalities by age group
Demographically, motorcycle riders are of all ages — some are younger than 16, and others are older than 65. We explores how different age groups contribute to the number of fatalities.
In 2020, the age group that contributed most to fatalities from motorcycle crashes were riders between 25 and 29. However, it’s considerable that drivers aged 50 and older account for 36% of all fatalities.
About half of fatalities occurred during weekends, between 6:00 p.m. on Friday and 5:59 a.m. on Monday. That’s worth noting because although approximately half took place during the week, Monday to Friday, that’s over a span of five days as opposed to two.
Motorcycle helmet use statistics
65% who ride on a motorcycle wear a DOT-Compliant helmet. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of a fatal motorcycle accident, especially when those helmets are in compliance with Department of Transportation requirements. That’s why it’s good news that the majority of people who ride motorcycles wear them. This includes 67% of riders and 52% of passengers.
6% wear a Non-compliant helmet while riding a motorcycle DOT-compliant headlines are designed to maximize the protection a motorcyclist receives in a collision. But any helmet is better than no helmet, even if it is not in full compliance with Department of Transportation regulations.
A total of 6% of motorcycle riders and 4% of passengers wear non-compliant helmets, but they remain safer than those who wear no helmet at all.
Helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatalities for motorcyclists. Although helmets do not prevent every motorcycle accident death, they are fairly effective at reducing the likelihood of fatalities. For every 100 motorcycle riders who lose their lives in accidents, 37 could have been saved if they had a helmet on at the time of the incident.
Where do accidents happen the most?
The surrounding environment is likely to impact motorcycles and their riders. MoneyGeek’s guide provides data showing where motorcycle crashes typically occur. First, we compared incidents between rural and urban areas.
The Federal Highway Administration defines an urban area as having at least 2,500 people. One thousand five hundred must live outside institutional group quarters, such as nursing homes or correctional facilities.
We also looked at fatalities at intersections and non-intersections. Our findings show that more deadly crashes occur in the latter. The infographic below offers more information.
At 61%, most fatalities from motorcycle accidents happen in urban areas. Riders are more likely to share the road with other motorists and pedestrians in these locations since it’s more densely populated.
The most common motorcycle accidents at intersections include speeding, running a red light or failing to yield when turning. However, despite having more traffic and directional changes, fewer fatalities were recorded at intersections in 2020.
Non-intersections expose riders to varying road conditions, including uneven road surfaces, gravel on pavements and other obstructions. Motorcycles, being less stable than vehicles with four wheels, are more prone to crash.
Prevalent weather conditions in motorcycle accidents
Weather conditions may significantly affect road conditions and, consequently, rider safety. For example, fog lowers visibility, making it difficult to see other motorists. Rain or snow decreases traction, making slips and skids more likely. Additionally, time of day is a factor. One would guess that riding conditions would be more hazardous at dawn, dusk or night than during the day.
It may come as a surprise, but most motorcycle accident fatalities (57%) happened during the day. Nighttime driving comes in second, contributing 37%. Despite being lower, practicing safe driving at night is always a wise choice. Dusk and dawn had the fewest contributions, with 4% and 1%, respectively.
Ninety-seven percent of fatalities occurred during “good weather” — clear or cloudy skies. About 2% occurred when it was raining and 1% when fog, snow or sleet was present. Riders can never be too careful, and it’s always best to prepare for a motorcycle ride, regardless of weather conditions.
How many motorcycle deaths are there each year?
The average number of motorcycle fatalities in a given year from 2011 to 2020 is around 5,015. The highest recorded number was 5,579 in 2020, while the lowest was 4,594 in 2014.
How much do motorcyclists contribute to motor vehicle accidents in the U.S.?
If you take into consideration all registered vehicles in the country, motorcycles only make up 3%. However, fatalities from motorcycle crashes accounted for 14% of all vehicle-related deaths in 2020.
How much do adverse weather conditions affect motorcycle fatalities?
The NHTSA’s 2020 report shows that 97% of fatalities happened during clear or cloudy days. The presence of rain may make riding more dangerous, but it only accounts for 2% of motorcycle accident deaths. Other weather conditions, such as sleet, snow and fog, were involved in the remaining 1%.
What factors contribute to motorcycle accidents?
There are always more risks involved with riding a motorcycle, but some factors contribute to crashes resulting in fatalities. These include not wearing a helmet, speeding and riding while under the influence of alcohol.
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