Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycle Accident Statistics for Washington & the United States

Motorcycle Riding – Stats & Common Injuries

Motorcycle riding is more popular today than ever. Recent motorcycle accident statistics show that with the increase in popularity, we have also seen an increase in motorcycle crashes. You may find the following motorcycle accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the traffic safety administration NHTSA interesting.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics - nationwide and Washington

What Are The Motorcycle Accident Statistics In The United States?

  • Sales of all types of two-wheeled motorcycles reached in the United States over 1 million in 2008, an increase of 11% from the previous years, 2019 saw a major decline in motorcycle sales. According to MotorCycles Data, manufacturers only sold 640,608 units in 2019, hitting the lowest sale level in decades.
  • In 2008, Motorcycle fatalities reached an alarming rate of 5,290, the highest level tracked by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 1975. In 2017, however, the number of deadly motorcycle crashes dropped considerably, with just under 5,000 fatalities being reported nationwide. Unfortunately, motorcyclists remain over represented in all fatal accidents. Motorcycle crashes are 28% more likely to be deadly than accidents involving passenger vehicles.
  • Nearly 10% of all motorcycle riders involved in an accident failed to carry adequate motorcycle insurance coverage.
  • According to the “Hurt” report, 75% of accidents were found to involve a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle.
  • Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are less likely to be involved in an accident. These items add to the visibility of the motorcycle long term.
  • At least 25% of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents in 2016 were under the influence of alcohol. This is the highest percentage of all vehicle groups.
  • Distracted riding has increasingly impacted motorcycle riders across the country, with states like Virginia seeing more than double the number of deadly distracted riding fatalities in 2016.
  • The use of safety gear, helmets, and protective clothing significantly reduces injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents.
  • The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominate cause of all motorcycle accidents.
  • The fatality rate per registered vehicle for motorcyclists in 2008 was 6 times the rate for passenger car occupants.
  • 35% of all bikers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 were speeding. That number dropped in 2016, when 33% of all motorcycle riders involved in deadly crashes were speeding.
  • Per vehicle mile traveled, bikers are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash. They are 9 times more likely to be injured.
  • Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing a fatal injury. Wearing a helmet can prevent a fatal injury. Wear a helmet.
  • In 2007, there were about 75% more motorcycles registered than in 1997. In 2016, there were 8,679,380 motorcycles registered across the country.
  • 49% of bikers killed in crashes in 2007 were over the age of 40. In 2016, that same age group made up of 54% of motorcyclists killed.
  • Helmets are estimated to be 41% effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle passengers.
  • Of the young motorcycle operators ages 15 to 20 involved in fatal crashes in 2008, more than one-third (43%) were unlicensed or driving with an invalid license. In 2016, that number dropped considerably. Only 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents were riding without valid licenses.
  • Weather is a factor in only 2% of motorcycle accidents.
  • Most motorcycle accidents occur during a short trip and occur near the destination, such as the rider’s home.
  • 92% of riders involved in a motorcycle accident were self-taught or learned from family or friends.
  • Most fatal motorcycle injuries result from trauma to the head or chest.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Washington State

In Washington state, there were 77 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2018, WSDOT reported. while at least 375 produced serious injuries.

Overall, the state saw 2,138 motorcycle crashes throughout the year, with only 387 of them not producing any apparent injury.

What Are Some Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycle riders do not have the structural protection that passenger vehicle occupants have. This makes certain types of accidents more likely to produce serious personal injuries.

In Washington state, some of the most common injuries riders suffer in motorcycle accidents are:

  • Road Rash, Skin Injuries, Scrapes, and Lacerations — Due to the limited protection, many riders suffer rashes and other injuries to their skin, even if they are simply laying the motorcycle down to avoid a collision. In some cases, however, collisions will result in road rashes, lacerations, and scrapes that are serious and that might even require plastic surgery.
  • Bone Fractures — Motorcycle accidents often result in broken limbs and other bone fractures due to the impact. Fractured pelvis injuries are some of the most common injuries associated with motorcycle crashes.
  • Nerve Damage — Many motorcycle riders suffer what’s known as “rider’s arm,” a type of nerve damage that could even lead to paralysis of the rider’s arm due to the impact caused by an accident. Because riders often fall on their arm, the nerve damage can be severe. In some serious accidents, the impact can expose both arms and legs to damage.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries — Many motorcycle riders will experience spinal cord injuries and spinal stenosis that could be traumatic, changing the victims’ lives forever.
  • Internal Injuries — After a motorcycle accident, Washington riders may suffer injuries to the chest and ribs, exposing vital organs such as the lungs and the heart to trauma.
  • Facial Injuries — Many riders who are victims of motorcycle accidents, experience painful and severe facial injuries, which often lead to disfigurement. These injuries are common in serious collisions, especially if victims are thrown from their motorcycles at the time of the impact while going at high rates of speed.
  • Brain Damage — Another organ that can be exposed to traumatic injuries is the brain from a head injury. In a motorcycle crash, riders may suffer head injuries that expose the brain to serious trauma. Wearing a helmet helps to reduce the risk of death by about 37%, however, the impact can still expose the victim to serious head injuries that often require long-term treatment.

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