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5 Shocking Motorcycle Accident Statistics

November 18, 2019

Updated June 2020

Every day, motorcyclists get on their bikes to go to work, go for a ride, or head to a local business or home. While many get to their destination safely, others never make it home. Per NHTSA statistics, in 2018 alone, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed and 82,000 were injured in motorcycle crashes across the nation.

Here are five shocking motorcycle accident statistics you need to know before you get on your bike

#1 – An Average of 4 out of 10 Motorcycle Riders Do Not Wear a DOT-Compliant Helmet

Despite studies finding that helmets help prevent fatalities during a motorcycle crash, only 61% of drivers wear a DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet. An average of 37 of every 100 crash victims would likely have survived had they worn a helmet.

State laws can send the wrong message regarding helmet use on a motorcycle. Only 19 of the 50 states mandate helmet use when driving or riding on a motorcycle. In 28 of the 50 states, helmets are only required if the driver is 18 or younger. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire do not require helmets at all.

#2 – Most Fatal Crashes Occur in Broad Daylight

You might think that crashes with a motorcycle are more likely to happen at night or during sunset or sunrise. The opposite is true. Most crashes occur in broad daylight between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Only 3% of crashes occur in inclement weather. Most motorcycle crashes occur when it’s clear or cloudy and in full daylight.

Visibility is key. Drivers of cars often miss smaller motorcycles in blindspots or coming around the side of other vehicles. The only defense is to be overly cautious and make yourself as visible as possible with headlights, bright clothing colors, and slowing down when approaching intersections.

#3 – The Highest Percentage of Fatal Crashes Occur When the Engine Size is 500 to 1,000cc

Four out of 10 fatal motorcycle crashes occur on bikes with a 500 to 1,000cc engine. These bikes tend to be more popular due to the lighter weight and power they provide. It can also be easier for a rider who is just starting out as there is less room for surprise error if you accidentally twist the throttle.

#4 – Only 33% of the Drivers in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes Were Speeding

Speed is not one of the biggest factors in fatal motorcycle crashes. Impaired driving wasn’t even that bad with alcohol impairment linked to 27% of fatal crashes. Road conditions, such as loose gravel, and other drivers not seeing motorcycles are often more prevalent.

Crashes with other vehicles are common when another driver is making a left turn and doesn’t see the motorcycle in an oncoming lane. Say you’re at a four-way intersection and the line of traffic opposite you is waiting for the light to turn green, you won’t always see a motorcycle coming in the lane next to that line of traffic. With taller SUVs, trucks, and vans, you won’t see that motorcycle until it’s just about in the intersection. That scenario causes more than half of motorcycle vs. vehicle crashes.

#5 – Around Half of Fatal Motorcycle Crashes Involve Drivers Aged 40 or Older

In 2015, the average age of the motorcyclist in a fatal crash was 42. People may think younger, less experienced riders are more likely to be in a fatal crash. The opposite is true with 2,671 riders aged 40 or older suffering fatal injuries. Changes to balance, hearing, muscle strength, and vision can make it harder for an older rider to handle some of the situations that can increase the risk of a motorcycle crash.

One reason for this is that motorcycles are becoming more appealing because they’re fuel-efficient and add the chance to socialize with other bikers. At the same time, a crash for an older person may increase the risk of injury because bone density can change. Fractures are more likely. There’s also a greater risk of complications and slower recovery times.

What Do You Do If You’re in a Motorcycle Crash?

Just over 70% of motorcycle crashes involve frontal collisions. If you’re in a frontal collision, you could get thrown over the handles. Landing on your head can lead to head and neck injuries. If you manage to land on your side, arm and rib fractures are likely. Dislocations, broken legs, ankles, wrists, and scrapes and bruises are also possible.

When possible, stay still until paramedics arrive. Any move could injure your spine or neck and cause serious harm. The problem with this is that you’re going to be in pain and it’s hard not to move when you’re hurting. Try your best to stay still. Limit movements like twisting or standing up.

Let the paramedics assess you. If they recommend you go to the hospital, do so. Insurance is going to cover medical expenses. If another driver failed to see you and caused the accident, that driver’s insurance will pay for your time off work, medical expenses, damages to your bike and personal property, and even pain and suffering in some cases.

Talk to an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. The insurance company may offer the bare minimum or try to blame you for the crash. Hire Jordan Law to fight for justice and ensure you’re treated fairly. Arrange a consultation at your convenience through the 24/7 online chat system or on the phone at (303) INJURED.

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