How Many Died in Motorcycle Accidents?
Compared to other forms of motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents have a higher fatality rate. Motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in a crash than drivers of passenger cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of motorcyclist deaths has increased significantly over the past decade. In 2010, motorcycle deaths accounted for nearly 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. This represents a four-fold increase from 1997.
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The most common causes of motorcycle accidents are speeding and failure to yield at intersections. Speeding increases the stopping distance and reduces the effectiveness of protective gear. The NHTSA estimates that helmet use can reduce fatalities by up to 41 percent for riders and passengers.
The majority of motorcycle fatalities occurred in urban areas. Urban areas are generally more populated, but they also have more densely packed roads. These areas are also more likely to be affected by weather, which can affect the rider’s ability to safely operate a motorcycle. Also, motorcyclists are less visible than cars and closed vehicles, which increases their risks of injuries.
The age of motorcyclists is also a factor. Motorcyclists over the age of 40 accounted for 54 percent of all riders killed in the past three years. They are also more likely to die in a crash than riders under the age of 25. They also account for the majority of fatal two-vehicle crashes. In these crashes, a motorcyclist is most likely to be struck in the front or rear of another vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been analyzing fatal motorcycle accident data for years to help develop safer equipment and safer driving practices. These studies have led to technological advancements, such as anti-lock brakes and airbags. While these aren’t yet perfect solutions, they have helped decrease the number of fatal motorcycle accidents.
In 2011, there were more than 56,000 motorcycle crashes in the United States, which led to 2,811 fatalities. These crashes involved collisions with other motor vehicles, fixed objects, and other motor vehicles on public roads. Of these crashes, 92 percent occurred on non-interstate roads, with the remaining 8 percent occurring on interstate highways. The most common cause of these crashes was a failure to yield, with 38 percent of these crashes occurring at intersections. In addition, over half of fatal crashes occurred over five days.
Speeding contributed to 1,921 fatalities. In 2020, speeding was the cause of almost half of all motorcycle fatalities. In addition, motorcycle drivers were also more likely than other drivers to be involved in fatal crashes involving speeding. The speeding rate for riders was 22 percent in 2020, compared to just 16 percent for drivers of passenger vehicles. These figures are based on unrounded estimates, and some estimates have been adjusted for prior years. In addition, drivers aged 25 to 29 were involved in 45 percent of fatal crashes that involved speeding.
Motorcycle fatalities increased to a record high in 2020. In total, 5,579 riders died in motorcycle accidents in 2020. The highest number of fatalities occurred in California, Florida, and Texas. These states contributed to 37% of all motorcycle accident deaths.