How dangerous is it to take a ride on a motorcycle? What factors can influence the risk of injury or death for motorcycle riders? In America, motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to suffer injuries that can result in a personal injury claim, and 28 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury in a motor vehicle accident than drivers or occupants of passenger vehicles. As the number of registered motorcycles and the number of miles driven rise, the risk of injuries and death are rising as well.
Motorcycles in America & Rising Fatality Rates
As of 2016, there were 8,679,380 motorcycles registered in the United States. This was an increase of more than 79,000 over 2015, and 207,000 more than in 2014. Over this period, the number of recorded motorcyclist fatalities rose from 4,594 in 2014 to 5,029 in 2015, and reached 5,286 in 2016.
Over this period, the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled has risen from 23 in 2014 to 25.85 in 2016. One reason for this is that motorcyclists are driving more than before. In 2014, motorcyclists drove 19.97 million miles. By 2016, that number had risen to 20.45 million miles. Unsurprisingly, over the period from 2007 through 2016, the data shows a strong correlation between the number of miles driven and the rates of fatal accidents.
Fluctuating Helmet Use Rates Show Correlation Between Risks of Injury or Death
In 2000, approximately 71% of riders or motorcycle passengers wore a helmet. That number plummeted to 48% in 2005 and has fluctuated ever since. By 2017, the Department of Transportation estimated that 65% of motorcyclists wore a helmet. Nationwide, 40% of motorcyclists who die in motorcycle accidents are not wearing helmets at the time of their accident.
In 2016, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 5,386 people died in motorcycle accidents. This was an increase of 5.1% over the 5,029 who died in 2015. This is the highest rate of fatalities recorded since 2008 when 5,312 people died. At that time, approximately 50% of motorcyclists were estimated to have worn helmets when they rode.
Motorcycles and Alcohol Don't Mix
Alcohol use is a leading cause of death among motorcyclists. Of the 5,286 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016, 1,600, or 30% of these, involved alcohol-impaired driving. This was only slightly lower than the 32% recorded among drivers or passengers in motor vehicles.
Sharing the Road
Approximately 75% of accidents involve collisions with a motor vehicle. The risks of these types of accidents are greatest in urban environments where traffic congestion puts motorcyclists in close proximity with other vehicles. The other 25% of motorcycle accidents are "single-vehicle" wrecks. Roughly 2% of these occur as a result of potholes or debris in the roadway. The remaining 23% of accidents usually involve speeding or rider errors.
Brad Pistotnik law offers free consultations for motorcyclists who are injured in motor vehicle accidents who want to pursue a personal injury claim. We are available to answer your call 24/7 and on all weekends and holidays. Our motorcycle accident attorneys represent riders who suffer personal injuries and the survivors of those who suffer wrongful deaths in motorcycle accidents in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. In Western Kansas you can call 620-THE-BULL for assistance with your personal injury claim.