Motorcycle Accident Statistics Primer

October 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle accidents are potentially deadly and all-too-common; that’s something that few people can dispute. However, do most motorcyclists realize the numbers that back that statement? Knowing the statistics concerning motorcycle accidents can be a helpful way for a motorcyclist to remain aware of threats on the road, hopefully avoiding them. This primer is intended to assist you in understanding the dangers of riding a bike.


The most common type of accident:

Most frequently, accidents involving motorcycles involve another automobile, usually a car. This type of accident comprises approximately 75 percent of motorcycle accidents. Often, the automobile driver was unaware of the presence of the motorcycle because of the low visibility of motorcycles.

The most common location of accidents:

Surprisingly, despite slower rates of speed, 91 percent of two-vehicle motorcycle accidents occur not on the interstate but on non-interstate roads. Half of those occurred at intersections.

The effects of alcohol on motorcycle accident statistics:

Alcohol involvement results in 2.5 times the number of fatalities in a motorcycle accident than happen in automobile accidents. While blood alcohol content (BAC) is considered 1 percent for intoxication, 69 percent of the motorcycle fatalities involving alcohol recorded over 8 percent BAC, 8 times higher than the illegal level in all states. Simply put, combining alcohol and motorcycles is deadly.

The role of speed in motorcycle accident statistics:

While many may assume that high-speed has a role in most motorcycle accidents, the opposite is actually true. In two-vehicle accidents, only 27 percent of the motorcycle accidents involved considerably higher rates of speed than posted speed.

Weekend versus weekday driving and motorcycle accident statistics:

Not surprisingly, two-vehicle motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur on weekends rather than weekdays with the likelihood for accidents being 1.5 more likely on a weekend. Night time accidents are also more frequent on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with 55 percent of nighttime accidents occurring on those days.

Crash position frequency in motorcycle accidents:

The most common position of two-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles and an automobile is that of a front-to-side crash. This type of accident results in 57 percent of all two-vehicle motorcycle accidents, with the next most frequent position being much less frequent at 18 percent for head-on accidents.

Passenger vehicle versus motorcycle accident and driving violations:

Statistically, according to the NHTSA, 30 percent of car drivers who were involved in motorcycle accidents are charged with a driving violation in 2005. Of those accidents, there were no violations assigned to the motorcyclists as you cannot charge someone who was fatally injured.

Crash avoidance maneuvers and their role in motorcycle accidents:

No attempts to maneuver the vehicle or motorcycle to avoid an accident are taken in over 35 percent of accidents. However, when motorcyclists attempt to maneuver to avoid an accident, that rate is over 55 percent versus 42 percent by the other driver. Braking maneuvers to avoid an accident by the driver are 3 times more frequent for motorcyclists than car drivers.

The most common killer of motorcyclists in accidents:

The most common fatality of motorcyclists is that of a motorcycle versus car accident with a 90 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities resulting from this type of accident.

The usefulness of statistics for the motorcyclist:

Statistics help the motorcyclist to understand that while motorcycles are fun, driving them is serious business. The motorcyclist should constantly be aware of everything going on around him and drive defensively. A motorcyclist should never assume that the driver of the car by him sees him as motorcycle accident statistics show that this is more often not the case. By being aware of visibility limitations, his own vulnerability, and safety precautions, hopefully the motorcyclist can enjoy more safety on the road, and less danger.

Where to seek help if you are in an accident:

If you or your loved one is the unfortunate victim of another’s negligence and have been involved in a motorcycle accident, Michael Ehline of Ehline Law Firm, PC, can help. Michael Ehline has not only a high success rate specifically with motorcycle-versus-automobile accidents, but also a personal knowledge of motorcycles and the motorcyclist lifestyle as he is a long-time motorcyclist. His status as a Marine assures that his clients will have a tough but ethical attorney on their side to protect their rights and fight for fair recompense. Ehline Law Firm has offices conveniently located throughout California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, and San Diego. If you would like more information on how Michael Ehline can help you and your cause, please call Los Angeles personal injury attorneys today at 1-888-400-9721.

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Written by Doos