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What are the Chances of Getting Hurt on a Motorcycle?

The moment that you decide you want to get a motorcycle is usually the same moment that someone will tell you that it’s a dangerous method of transportation. Unfortunately, people who say this aren’t exactly being alarmists. Riding a motorcycle is statistically more dangerous than driving a car, and the injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident are usually much worse than those suffered in a car accident of the same severity.

What are the actual chances of getting hurt on a motorcycle, though? We can look at some recent statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find out.

Motorcycle Accident & Injury Statistics

Based on data from the III and the NHTSA, there were almost 5,000 motorcycle rider fatalities in 2018 and just over 5,000 such fatalities in 2019. This number might look a little low, but it is actually worrying as more information comes into the equation.

In 2019, there were a total of 36,096 traffic fatalities across the country when counting all forms of motor vehicles. This means that roughly 13% of all traffic fatalities in that year were suffered by a motorcyclist or about one-in-eight. If the risk of getting into a serious motorcycle accident was equal to that same risk when considering car accidents, then we would expect that 13% of all vehicles on the roads to be motorcycles. Except, this isn’t the case.

Also using data from 2019, there were approximately 8.7 million registered motorcycles in the country. But there were about 229 million registered passenger vehicles. This means that despite motorcycles making up about 3% of roadway traffic, they make up about 13% of roadway fatalities, so, riding a motorcycle increases the risk of being in a fatal accident by at least 400%.

Furthermore, the NHTSA takes these statistics a step further and calculates vehicle miles traveled per accident type. Because car owners tend to use their vehicles for longer commutes, the risk of getting into a serious motorcycle accident is technically much higher. In 2019, NHTSA data shows that motorcyclists are about 2900% more likely to die in an accident compared to people in passenger vehicles. Using the same data, the chances of suffering any type of injury go up by 400%, too.

What is Causing So Many Motorcycle Accidents?

The cause of so many motorcycle rider injuries is not a deep mystery. Motorcyclists have almost no protection in a crash. A helmet can greatly protect a rider from a head injury, but other types of injuries are difficult to mitigate. The best way to prevent a motorcycle accident injury is to prevent the accident itself.

What is causing motorcycle accidents, though? It tends to be not the error of the rider, but rather the mistakes of the drivers around them. When a motorist in a larger vehicle doesn’t pay attention to motorcyclists around them, they create extremely dangerous situations.

Driver mistakes that can cause a motorcycle accident include:

  • Turning left in front of opposing traffic.
  • Seeing but not acknowledging a motorcyclist.
  • Failure to check mirrors and blind spots.
  • Tailgating a motorcycle, which can brake much more efficiently.

Should You Not Ride a Motorcycle?

The fact is that motorcyclists do suffer an inordinate number of injuries and fatalities each year that make the vehicle more dangerous than its four-wheeled counterparts. But it is also true that many of those accidents could be completely avoided if other drivers were being more careful. With this said, if you want to ride a motorcycle, you shouldn’t let the potential irresponsibility of others stop you. What you should do, though, is hedge your chances of staying safe by taking routine motorcycle training courses, always riding sober, and practicing general roadway safety habits.

Need a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida? Come to Politis & Matovina, P.A. We are led by avid motorcyclists who know the ins and outs of motorcycle safety, as well as motorcycle claim management. Because we love to ride motorcycles, too, you can trust that we will take your case to heart. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.

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