Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycle riding is more popular today than ever, but recent statistics show that with an increase in popularity, we have also seen an increase in motorcycle accidents. 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

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What Are The Motorcycle Accident Statistics?

  • Sales of all types of two-wheeled motorcycles reached 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, as 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 because 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, 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. 
  • Use of safety gear, helmets, and protective clothing significantly reduces injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
  • 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 fatality rate for passenger car occupants, according to NHTSA.
  • While 35% of all bikers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 were speeding, we saw a drop in that number 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 and 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 now than there were in 1997. In 2016, there were 8,679,380 motorcycles registered across the country.
  • In 2007, 49% of bikers killed in crashes were over the age of 40 while in 2016, the same age group made up of 54 percent of motorcyclists killed that year. 
  • 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 either unlicensed, or driving with an invalid motorcycle license. In 2016, that number dropped considerably, with 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents being caught 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

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.

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