Motorcycle Accident Statistics: The Fatal Dangers of Riding

Motorcycles have always been synonymous with danger because of the alarming accident statistics that are connected with them. When motorcycles are involved in accidents with another vehicle, 77% are struck in the front and only 7% are struck from behind and approximately 47% of these accidents are fatal to the motorcyclist. More than half of these fatal accidents are caused by the other vehicle turning left, and 75% of all accidents involving another vehicle are caused by the drivers’ failure to see the motorcycle before the collision.

Half of motorcycle fatalities in single vehicle crashes are related to problems negotiating a curve prior to a crash. Almost 60% of fatal single vehicle crashes occur at night and 35% of the deceased motorcycle riders were speeding at the time. According to NHTSA’s statistics of 25% for motorcycles, 19% for cars, and 18% for trucks; motorcycles are substantially more likely than other vehicles to be involved in a fatal accident involving a stationary object, such as a lamp post, wall, concrete barrier etc. Fatal motorcycle accidents are more likely to be alcohol-related than any other type of motor vehicle accident, with 43% of single-motorcycle accidents involving a driver with a BAC over the legal limit of .08. The majority of these kinds of accidents show considerable collision avoidance, including failure to brake, over-braking, or lack of ability to counter-steer.

Injuries cause by motorcycle accidents can be vast and mainly depend on the type of accident and the circumstances surrounding it. A concussion and brain damage is caused by the head making violent contact with another vehicle or object. Wearing a safety helmet reduces the risk of death by 37%. Other common injuries include the breakage of joints in elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists. The extremities are particularly vulnerable because of the riders’ immediate instinct to break their fall using their arms and/or legs. Soft tissue (skin and muscle) damage or “road rash” is also common because of how the body slides across the surface after a crash. This kind of injury can be avoided by wearing the proper riding apparel such as a riding jacket and sturdy pants. A less common injury known as “biker’s arm” has been known to happen, where the nerves in the upper arm are damaged and cause permanent paralysis. Also, if a rider is not wearing a helmet at the time of collision, they may suffer facial disfigurement, most commonly to the chin and jaw.

According to statistics, if a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident, the likelihood of injury is incredibly high: 98% of multiple motor vehicle accidents and 96% of single vehicle accidents resulted in serious injury. Of those percentages, 45% escaped with only a minor injury. As always, the best way to avoid injury is to not be involved in an accident in the first place. This is best achieved by being wary of other drivers, not taking unnecessary risks, and obeying the rules of the road at all times.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.
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