According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thousands of riders lose their lives in motorcycle crashes every year. For every mile traveled, a motorcyclist is more than 26 times more likely to die in a crash than the occupant of a passenger car, and five times as likely to sustain injury. A staggering 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death; the same is true for only 20% of car crashes.
Data published by the Insurance Information Institute shows that 4,586 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2014, while 92,000 were injured.
These alarming numbers highlight the need for motorcycle safety. Wearing a helmet is just one way to reduce your chance for injury. Head trauma is the leading cause of serious injury or death in motorcycle accidents. NHTSA research shows that helmets cause a 29% reduction in fatalities and a 67% reduction in serious brain injuries.
Other factors play a huge role in motorcycle injury and fatality rates, including:
- Speeding – NHTSA statistics for 2013 show that 34% of motorcycle riders in fatal crashes were driving above the speed limit.
- Alcohol – According to the NHTSA, in 2014, 29% of bikers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration at or above of 0.08, the legal threshold for drunk driving in the U.S.
- No valid license – In 2013, 25% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes lacked a valid license.
- Bike type – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that riders of “super sports” motorcycles, which are light-weight bikes built for racing, were four times more likely to die in fatal crashes than riders of other bikes.
All that said, in many accidents, it is the other driver who is at fault for causing the accident by failing to notice the motorcyclist and/or give them proper space on the road to maneuver safely. Even if the motorcyclist was partially at fault in causing the accident, he or she may be able to recover against a driver who was also at fault in causing the accident.