Motorcycles lead to a disproportionate fatality rate

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Oct 26, 2023

Wondering if riding a motorcycle is really more dangerous than driving a car? Some argue that it’s not, with the proper gear and training, but the raw statistics tell a different story.

For example, a study carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that motorcycle accident deaths account for about 5 percent of all of the fatalities that happen on America’s highways in a given year.

That may not seem like much, but you have to consider the fact that a mere 2 percent of all of the vehicles that are registered are motorcycles. If their fatality rate was the same as cars and trucks, they should lead to only two percent of the accident deaths, but the rate is actually two and a half times as high as it should be.

Part of the reason for this is that injury and death are simply far more likely in any motorcycle accident. The NHTSA claimed that about 20 percent of car accidents were fatal or led to reported injuries, while the other 80 percent of those accidents allowed drivers and passengers to walk away without a scratch.

For motorcycles, the numbers are flipped. A full 80 percent of these crashes lead to injury or death, while a mere 20 percent of riders get through a crash without being hurt.

This isn’t to say that you should never ride a motorcycle or that there’s nothing you can do to ride safely, but you also need to understand the risks. The stats are telling. If you’re hurt in a crash, of if a family member is killed, make sure you fully understand your legal rights.

Source: NHTSA, “Motorcycle Safety," accessed Sep. 29, 2017

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