Motorcycle vs car accident statistics confirm that it is more dangerous to operate a motorcycle than it is a car.
I am sure I didn’t shock you with that tidbit – everyone knows that cars are safer than motorcycles. However, it may surprise you to learn just how much more dangerous they are. In 2010, US government sources estimated that deaths in motorcycles accidents were about 30 times the number of deaths for car accidents, per miles traveled. These deaths were primarily a function of the frequency of head injuries, which are much more common injuries that motorcyclists sustain vs. car operators. Approximately 67% of the brain injuries could be prevented, and about 37% of motorcycle fatalities could be prevented by the cyclist wearing a helmet.
A total of 4,300 motorcyclists were in fatal crashes in 2010. This count was more than double the statistics from 1997! Motorcycle accident deaths accounted for 13% of all motor vehicle deaths in 2010. It’s no surprise, to a motorcycle accident lawyer at least, that 55% of the motorcyclist fatalities that year occurred in multi-vehicle crashes. A rider in an incident without another vehicle may get thrown off the bike, and suffer some injuries such as pavement burn (road rash), or some broken bones, but usually this does not result in death. However, when you get another vehicle, with the larger mass it holds, colliding with a motorcycle and it’s rider, it naturally entails much more serious results.
Motorcycle deaths had been on the decline since the early 1980s, up until 1998, then they began to increase again through the year 2008. When thinking about motorcycle vs car accident statistics, a person would assume that auto accident death statistics would follow the same pattern of decrease for motorcycle accidental deaths; but this is not the case. 22,200 passenger vehicle occupants died in crashes in 2010 – fewer than any year since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began keeping track of fatal crash data in 1975. Motorcycle deaths are actually increasing, while car deaths are decreasing.
One reason for the increase may be that the engine size of the motorcycles involved in fatal motorcycle accidents have increased dramatically. 29% of the accidents involved an engine size larger than 1400 cc! A decade earlier only 9% had an engine that size or greater. In 2010, 83% of touring bikes had engines larger than 1400 cc.
More than half of the motorcycle fatalities in 2010 occurred on major roads, that were not interstate highway or freeways. This is not surprising at all to a PA motorcycle accident attorney. The bigger the road, the busier it tends to be, and this increases the chances of interacting with other motor vehicles.
The average age of victims from a motorcycle accident has been on the increase for years. In the mid-1970’s, the average age of the motorcyclist who died in accidents was under the age of 30, but now the number of over 50 year old rider deaths has surpassed the number of 30-year-olds, and is the highest age group, by decade.
These numbers of motorcycle accidents are even more amazing when you realize that in parts of the country, such as Pennsylvania, we have a shorter riding season for cycles than cars. June, July and August are the highest percentage of motorcyclist accidental death statistics – during the peak of the riding season. 50% of these motorcycle accidents were on the weekend, and were more likely to occur after 6 PM, presumably because of the difficulty of other vehicles to see the motorcycles.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania, before you talk to an insurance adjuster (yes, even the nice ones), contact Philadelphia injury attorney Jeffrey Harlan Penneys at 1-800-465-8795 for a free consultation to protect your rights.
The statistics for this article came from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.