A Statistical Analysis of Motorcycle Accidents

A Statistical Analysis of Motorcycle Accidents

by / Wednesday, 31 August 2016 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Black motorcycle standing up

For millions of Americans, the thrill of heading out on for a ride on a motorcycle is simply impossible to resist. Thanks to movies like Easy Rider, motorcycles have long been seen as a symbol of freedom. But if you’re a motorcyclist, it’s very important to remember to ride safely because it can very easily become fatal.

In 2014, the number of motorcycle fatalities was 27 times higher than the number for cars per mile traveled. Motorcycles are smaller than other types of motor vehicles, making them less visible to other drivers on the road. Since motorcycles aren’t enclosed vehicles, motorcycle riders are inherently at a higher risk of being injured or killedin an accident. Motorcycles are also less stable than cars and lack many of the safety features other vehicles have, making the risk of injury or death even higher.

The number of motorcycle accident fatalities has steadily risen over the years. According to the IIHS, the number of deaths in motorcycle accidents more than doubled between 1997 and 2014. In 2008, 14% of all highway traffic deaths involved motorcyclists, making it the year with the highest number of motorcyclist deaths since the NHTSA started collecting data about motor vehicle fatalities in 1975.

If you’re going to ride a motorcycle, it’s extremely important to wear proper safety gear to protect yourself. Only 19 states and Washington D.C. have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times and three states (Illinois, New Hampshire, and Iowa) do not have any laws at all about helmet use for motorcyclists. Even if you’re riding your motorcycle in a state where helmet use isn’t mandatory, it’s still best to wear one. Helmets do indeed save lives and protect riders from injuries. When California instituted a mandatory helmet law in 1992, helmet use skyrocketed and the number of motorcycle fatalities dropped by 37%.

In 2012, Michigan law changed to allow motorcyclists over the age of 21 to legally ride without a helmet as long as they carry at least $20,000 worth of medical insurance and have either passed a motorcycle safety class or had a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years. The problem with motorcycle helmet laws that only apply to riders of certain ages is that they’re very difficult to enforce. As a result, Michigan has become a textbook case of what happens when mandatory helmet use laws are changed.

Here are a few more fast facts you should know about motorcycle accidents and the difference helmets can make:

Goodwin & Scieszka Motorcycle Accident Infographic

Infographic Transcription:

Statistical Analysis of Motorcycle Accidents

  • 48 – The average age of motorcyclists in the U.S.

  • 2012 – The year in which the state of Michigan repealed its mandatory motorcycle helmet law

  • 54% – The increase in deaths after an accident where riders weren’t wearing a helmet following the repeal of the helmet law in Michigan

  • $28,000 – The average hospital cost for non-helmeted motorcyclists involved in an accident

  • 69% – Percentage of head injuries that are avoided when a rider involved in an accident is wearing a helmet

  • 96% – Percentage of motorcycle accidents that occur in clear weather conditions

Motorcycle Fatalities in the U.S. by the Year

  • 2010: 4,518

  • 2011: 4,612

  • 2012: 4,986

  • 2013: 4,692

  • 2014: 4,586

  • 2015: 5,010

States With the Highest Number of Motorcycle Fatalities

  • California

  • Texas

  • Illinois

  • Michigan

  • Ohio

  • Pennsylvania

  • New York

  • Florida

  • South Carolina

  • North Carolina

Our personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Goodwin & Scieszka handle other vehicle accidents, like truck accident cases. Contact us to see how we can help you receive fair compensation for your misfortunes.



Governors Highway Safety Administration

Brandon Gaille

Huffington Post


AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety