As an avid motorcycle rider, you probably know the majority of deadly motorcycle crashes are caused by drivers of passenger cars. However, what you may not know is there are many other factors that influence whether you'll be involved in a crash—and whether you'll walk away from the collision.
We've examined some recent statistics to help riders understand the risks, enabling them to prevent an accident before it occurs.
Common Factors in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
A recent motorcycle safety report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed some disturbing trends about motorcycle accidents and riders. Per mile traveled in 2015, motorcyclists died in accidents at 29 times the rate of people in passenger cars—with a total of 4,976 motorcyclists killed in road accidents.
Some of the biggest factors involved in motorcyclist injuries and fatalities included:
- Alcohol. In 2015, 27 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired—the highest rate among operators of any types of vehicle. In addition, 42 percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher.
- Head-on collisions. In nearly 75 percent of all two-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles, the motorcyclist suffered a frontal collision with an oncoming vehicle. Only 7 percent of riders killed were struck from behind.
- Speeding. In 2015, 33 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were traveling too fast for conditions, exceeding the posted speed limit, racing, or involved in other types of speeding-related offense.
- Helmet use. According to NHTSA, motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,772 lives in 2015. However, 740 more could have been saved if the motorcyclists wore helmets. Helmet use is directly tied to compliance with universal helmet laws, as 58 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 weren't wearing helmets, compared to 8 percent killed in states where helmet use is mandatory. This is particularly worrying for Florida riders, who aren't required to wear helmets while operating a motorcycle if they're insured and over the age of 21.
- Riding conditions. The perfect weather for a ride also seems to be the perfect weather for an accident. Nearly 97 percent of crashes occurred in clear conditions and 57 percent took place during daylight hours.
- Licensing requirements. Riding without a valid motorcycle license contributes to injury and accident rates. About one in every four fatally-injured riders in 2015 didn't have a motorcycle license at the time of the collision.
- Engine size. Fatality rates seem to increase along with the size of the motorcycle engine. In 2015, 26 percent of riders killed in traffic crashes were riding motorcycles with engine sizes between 1,001-1,500 cubic centimeters (cc). Riders with engines under 500 cc accounted for just 7 percent of fatalities. Incredibly, 19 percent of riders were killed on motorcycles with engines of 1,501 cc or higher—an increase of over 350 percent when compared to the same class in 2006.
- Weekend riding. In 2015, there were nearly twice as many motorcyclist fatalities in traffic crashes on Saturday and Sunday than during the week.
- Road-sharing problems. Of the 2,448 two-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes in 2015, 41 percent occurred when the driver was turning left and the motorcycle was going straight or overtaking other vehicles. In 22 percent of two-vehicle accidents, both vehicles were going straight, leading to either head-on or sideswipe collisions.
Our attorney Paul Cavonis isn't just a motorcycle accident attorney. He's an avid and passionate rider who knows what it's like to share the road with larger vehicles. He understands the skills and control needed to operate a motorcycle safely and is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured motorcyclists who suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence.
Our law firm will fight for the maximum amount of compensation available in your injury case, and we don't collect any payment from you until the case is won. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation with our motorcycle accident team.