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Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Accident Statistics: What You Need To Know

Motorcycle accident statistics show that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash. It also shows that most crashes involve a collision between a motorcyclist and another vehicle, especially one that turns left in front of the motorcyclist as it is traveling straight.

The motorcycle accident statistics discussed below are based on the most current years for which national and Michigan automobile crash data are available from NHTSA and from Michigan.

What do the motorcycle accident statistics tell us about the danger that motorcyclists face?

In 2018 and 2017, respectively, motorcyclists were 28 and 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes based on vehicle miles traveled, according to NHTSA. 

What percentage of motorcyclists get into crashes?

According to the motorcycle accident statistics, approximately 1% of motorcyclists get into automobile crashes. Nationally, in 2017, there were 8,715,204 motorcycle registrations and there 94,172 motorcyclists that were killed or injured in crashes. In Michigan in 2019, there were 251,048 motorcycle registrations and 2,809 motorcyclists were involved in crashes.

Of the 5,172 motorcyclists nationwide who were killed in 2017, 4,885 were riders or operators of the motorcycle and 287 were passengers.

How many of these types of crashes are there per year?

There was a total of approximately 94,172 fatal and injury-related motorcyclist crashes nationally in 2017. In Michigan in 2019, there was a total of 2,809 motorcyclist crashes, which included 120 fatal motorcyclist crashes and 2,047 injury crashes.

What is the major cause of death in a crash with a motorcyclist?

According to the motorcycle accident statistics here are the major causes of death: 

  • Colliding with another vehicle: 57% of the motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes nationwide in 2017, the “most harmful event” was colliding with “motor vehicles in transport.”
  • Going straight ahead: Nationally, 42% of all two-vehicle fatal crashes in 2017 involving a motorcyclist and another vehicle involved the other vehicle turning left in front of a motorcyclist as it traveled in a straight, forward direction. In Michigan in 2019, 67% of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes involved the motorcycle rider was “going straight ahead” just before the crash.
  • Speeding: 32% of the motorcyclists who were involved in fatal crashes nationally in 2017 were speeding. 
  • Drinking and driving: 28% of the motorcyclists who were killed in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide in 2017 were alcohol-impaired with BAC levels of .08 g/dL or higher. Of the 122 motorcyclists killed in Michigan in 2019, 29.5% of those deaths were caused by a “had-been-drinking crash.”  

What is the main cause of a crash with a motorcyclist?

The main cause of these crashes is being struck by or colliding with another type of vehicle, which frequently occurs while a motorcyclist is going straight ahead on the roadway and the other vehicle turns left in front of the motorcyclist.

According to the motorcycle accident statistics other causes of include:

  • Head-on collisions: 76% of the motorcyclists involved in two-vehicle motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally were struck head-on.
  • Slowing or stopping: In 6% of the crashes involving motorcyclists in Michigan in 2019, the motorcyclist was “slowing” or “stopping in the roadway” just before the crash.
  • Curves in the road: In just less than 5% of the crashes involving motorcyclists in Michigan in 2019, the motorcyclist was “negotiating a curve” just before the crash.
  • Turning left: In approximately 4% of the crashes involving motorcyclists in Michigan in 2019, the motorcyclist was “turning left” just before the crash.

What percentage of motorcyclist crashes are fatal?

Motorcyclists, which includes both riders and passengers, accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities nationwide in 2017. In Michigan, motorcyclists were involved in 8.3% of all fatal traffic crashes in Michigan in 2019. 

Where do crashes with motorcyclists occur most often?

According to the motorcycle accident statistics, in 2017, 65% of motorcyclist fatalities occurred at locations other than intersections and 91% occurred on non-interstate roads.

Is the daytime safer for motorcyclists?

In 2017, 58% of all motorcyclist fatalities occurred during daylight, whereas 58% occurred during daylight and 4% and 1% occurred at dusk and dawn, respectively.

Is bad weather more dangerous for motorcyclists?

As many as 97% of motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 occurred in cloudy and/or clear conditions as compared to 2% and 1% in rain and fog, respectively.

Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you have been injured in an automobile crash and would like to speak to an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.

(Sources: NHTSA, “Motorcycle Safety” website page; 2019 Michigan Traffic Crash Facts – Vehicle/Driver; 2019 Michigan Traffic Crash Facts – Motorcycles Fact Sheet; NHTSA, “Traffic Safety Facts – Motorcycles – 2017 Data,” published August 2019)