Where do most motorcycle accidents occur? Although motorcycle accidents that result in injuries are a common phenomenon, various studies have provided data showing where most motorcycle accidents do happen.
Overall, most motorcycle accidents occur in urban areas, on non-interstate roads, and at locations other than intersections. Furthermore, more motorcycle accidents tend to occur in states with warmer climates and longer riding seasons.
Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur?
Urban vs. Rural Locations
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, 60% of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in urban areas, and 40% of motorcycle crashes occurred in rural areas.
Various factors could contribute to the increased rate of crashes in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. For instance, urban areas often have significantly more traffic than rural areas, which can increase the rate of motorcycle crashes.
Urban areas also may contain more pedestrians and bicyclists, which could cause motorcyclists to abruptly brake or swerve to avoid them. Road conditions, such as potholes, construction, and debris, also may be more prevalent on urban streets, leading to more accidents.
Emergency vehicles also tend to be more common, which can lead to increased accidents. Most of the fatal motorcycle accidents, whether in an urban or rural area, occurred on major, non-interstate roads.
Intersections vs. Non-Intersections
The NHTSA also reported that only 35% of the crashes happened at intersections. The majority of motorcycle crashes occurred on parts of roadways other than intersections. One factor that contributes to these statistics may be speed.
At intersections, motorcycles are far more likely to be traveling at slower speeds, stopping, or starting. In contrast, stretches of roads with no intersections result in higher speeds on average and no reason to slow down or stop.
Another study of 2018 motorcycle crashes by NHTSA showed that the majority of accidents involving fatalities and injuries or over 41,000 accidents were front crashes. These accidents primarily involved hitting other vehicles head-on or hitting stationary objects head-on, which is more likely to occur on stretches of roads other than intersections.
Another roughly 25,000 motorcycle accidents did not involve collisions at all, thus leading to the conclusion that they more likely occurred in areas other than intersections.
Interstate Roads v. Non-Interstate Roads
The same NHTSA data revealed that 91% of fatal motorcycle crashes happened on non-interstate roads. As many motorcyclists ride to enjoy the landscape, at least in part, rather than out of the need to get to their intended locations quickly, they may be more likely to frequent non-interstate roads.
Traditionally, interstate highways are for commuters and travelers to get from point A to point B as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Motorcyclists often ride for pleasure rather than for business, which could lead them to choose roads other than interstates.
Most Common Intersections In Your Area
Every community has its most dangerous intersections. Many of these intersections are dangerous because of a lack of safety infrastructure, such as proper stoplights or signs.
Some of the most dangerous intersections include, but are not limited to:
Little Rock is one of the largest city cities in Arkansas and numerous accidents occur here every single year. In Little Rock, the most dangerous intersection by far is the corner of Asher and University. Here, more than 180 accidents occur here every single year.
- Chenal Club Boulevard and Chenal Parkway
- Asher and University
- Shackleford and 1-430
- Baseline and Chicot
- Cantrell and 1-430
- Arch and Roosevelt
Springdale/Fayetteville is a large University city that is home to the University of Arkansas. As such, College Avenue is one of the most dangerous roads. In particular, the intersection of N. College Avenue and E. Joyce Boulevard is near major highways. This makes it one of the most dangerous intersections in the area.
- N. College Avenue an E Joyce Boulevard
- Fulbright Expressway and N. College Avenu
- N College Avenue and Archibald Yell
- Razorback Road and MLK
- Township and College
Conway intersections were so dangerous that the city began adding roundabouts to decrease traffic accidents. In fact, Conway has the most roundabouts in the state with 28 total. Some of those roundabouts reduced dangerous accidents at prominent intersections, such as Tyler and Washington, Donaghey Avenue and Prince Street and College and Ferris.
- Tyler and Donaghey
- Hogan Road and Highway 64
Hot Springs is a resort city in Arkansas, drawing in thousands of visitors every single year. The major freeways here are often dangerous, including the U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 270, Arkansas Highway 7 and Interstate 30. Here there is an average of five fatal crashes a year, more than surrounding cities like Conway, Benton and Pine Bluff.
- Central Avenue and Greenwood Ave
- Malvern Avenue and E. Grand Ave
- Central Avenue and Quapaw Avenue
Bryant is located in Saline County, Arkansas, home to just 17,000 people. However, when it’s combined with the traffic from Benton there are still dangerous intersections that pose a threat to motorcyclists. One of those intersections is at Bryant Parkway and Highway 5. Here speeders are a big issue.
- Bryant Ave and Main
- Bryant Ave and N Reynolds Rd
- I-30 and W. Commerce St.
Memphis is one of the largest cities in Tennessee and home to numerous dangerous intersections. One study found that two Memphis intersections ranked as some of the worst in the country for distracted driving and crashes. Lamar and Holmes, as well as South Lauderdale and Mallory both ranked in the top 5 worst in the country for phone use while driving.
- South Lauderdale and Mallory
- Lamar and Holmes
- I-40 and Sycamore View Road
- I-240 and Walnut Grove
- I-240 and Poplar Avenue
- Poplar Avenue and Ridgeway Road
- Shelby Drive and Lamar Avenue
Geographical Locations of Motorcycle Crashes
A recent QuoteWizard study compared 2017 motorcycle fatality data from the NHTSA with motorcycle registration data from the Federal Highway Administration to determine which states had the highest rates of motorcycle accidents.
Unsurprisingly, more fatal motorcycle accidents tended to occur in states with warmer climates and longer riding seasons. Due to their temperate climates, these states tend to have more motorcyclists overall, whether they are tourists or residents of those states.
At least eight of the ten states in which the most motorcycle fatalities occurred are traditionally southern or somewhat southern states. Topping the list are Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Arizona.
Mississippi had the highest rate of fatalities, at 14.22 fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles. Arizona, however, had a substantially lower rate of 9.94 fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles.
Rounding out the top ten list is North Carolina, New Mexico, Kentucky, Missouri, and Louisiana. Not surprisingly, other southern states, such as Tennessee, Nevada, Alabama, and Georgia, also fell within the top 20 on this list. This list illustrates that most motorcycle accidents do happen where the climate is warmer for a more significant part of the year.
Nonetheless, fatalities unquestionably occur more commonly in warmer months and taper off during winter months, even in southern states with warmer climates.
Motorcycle Accidents and National Statistics
The NHTSA publishes annual national statistics about motor vehicle crashes, including motorcycle accidents. In 2018, the year for which the most recent statistics are available, just under 5,000 individuals lost their lives in motorcycle accidents.
That same year, another 82,000 individuals suffered injuries in motorcycle-related crashes. Although these figures have decreased over the five years prior to 2018, the numbers are still significant.
Many motorcycle accidents lead to severe injuries for individuals. When the negligence of other parties causes these accidents, the injury victims may have legal recourse in the form of personal injury actions. In the case of fatal motorcycle accidents, surviving family members of the victims may have wrongful death actions against the negligent parties.
Although motorcycle accidents do occur in some places more commonly than others, other factors regularly impact the rate of motorcycle accidents involving fatalities and injuries. For example, accidents tend to decrease in years in which some states see particularly harsh winters. In those states, the riding season is shorter for those years, and therefore, fewer accidents occur.
Similarly, in states with strict helmet laws, accidents with fatalities may decrease, and accidents with injuries may increase. This is the case simply because many studies show that mandatory helmet laws decrease the risk of fatalities in motorcycle accidents.
What Is The Most Common Cause Of Motorcycle Accidents?
The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is due to reckless or distracted driving by other motorists. Drivers may be unaware of motorcyclists, follow too closely, or change lanes too quickly. While the driver of the car may recover easily from such actions, it can cause a motorcyclist to lose control, producing devastating consequences.
Some examples of motorcycle accidents caused by passenger vehicles include:
- Left-hand turns.
- Distracted driving.
- Opening doors into another lane.
- Changing lanes recklessly.
- Braking too quickly.
- Failing to yield.
- Driving drunk.
Almost half of all collisions involving a motorcycle happen at intersections. Specifically, the cause is left-hand turns when motorcycle riders attempt to pass while other vehicles turn left. It is essential to be aware of your surroundings and remember that other drivers may not see you, especially if there is a blind spot.
Head-on collisions could be especially dangerous, leading to a severe injury or even death, depending on the speed of the other car or cars involved. As a motorcyclist, you should always proceed with caution when entering an intersection.
Other common causes for a motorcycle accident could be outside factors, such as poor road maintenance, debris, or dangerous conditions, although this is less probable than driver errors.
How Likely Are Motorcycle Accidents?
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), accidents involving motorcycles are far more likely than traffic accidents involving other motor vehicles, accounting for around 14 percent of all traffic deaths. Cars, trucks, or vans often violate the right-of-way of motorcyclists due to obstructed views, distracted driving, or the small size of the motorcycle itself.
The probability of accidents involving motorcyclists increases when taking into consideration alcohol impairment, the age of the driver, and of course, skill level. Around 28 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involve alcohol use, and 36 percent are attributed to riders over 50.
The size of the engine and the experience of the rider are also factors that play a part in safety when it comes to riding a motorcycle. The NSC suggests taking a motorcycle safety course, even if you feel you are experienced. Many older drivers decide to pick up an old hobby and could benefit from a refresher course.
Before hitting the road, motorcyclists should learn the laws in their state, educate themselves on motorcycle safety, and always be on the lookout for other cars or motorcyclists.
What State Has The Most Motorcycle Accidents?
It may come as no surprise that the State of Florida has had the highest number of motorcycle accidents in the country for several years. Florida attracts so many motorcycle riders due to its pleasant weather and scenic beauty, which definitely contributes to these numbers. If there are more motorcycle riders, naturally, more motorcycle accidents happen.
In 2018, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recorded 9,143 motorcycle crashes, with 531 of them being fatal.
While many states require helmet use by law, this is not the case in Florida. Motorcyclists over 21 with the proper insurance policy are not required to wear head protection. This leads many riders to opt-out of wearing a helmet – a choice that could cost them their lives.
Since many of the fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents are caused by injuries to the spine, neck, or head, not wearing a helmet significantly increases your chance of death if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Helmets can lower the risk of traumatic head injuries by almost 70 percent and cut the risk of death in half.
As a responsible motorcyclist, you should always be adequately protected, alert, and sober while on the road.
Where do 70% of motorcycle accidents occur?
Almost 70% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because drivers do not see the motorcycle. Since motorcycles are smaller, other motorists often misjudge how fast a motorcyclist is traveling and turn into their path of travel causing an accident.
How do most motorcycle deaths happen?
According to the National Highway and Traffic Administration (HTSA), anywhere between 35-45% of all motorcycle crashes occur because a driver coming from the opposite direction crossed into the rider’s path during a left-hand turn in a failed attempt to beat oncoming traffic.
What is the most common motorcycle accident?
The most common motorcycle accident happens when a car makes a left-hand turn in front of you. This is the single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists, accounting for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car.
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