Motorcycle Accidents Facts & Statistics

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for collecting and providing facts and statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in the United States. This information sheds light on the prevalence and risks of motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists can use these statistics to know the greatest dangers they face on the road. Law enforcement, lawmakers, and lawyers can also use this information in different ways to help protect motorcycle riders.

The following are motorcycle accident facts and statistics provided by the NHTSA for 2008:

  • There are an estimated 7 million motorcycles on the US roadways each year, compared to approximately 130 million passenger cars.
  • In 2008, 5,290 motorcyclists were killed and another 96,000 were injured in motorcycle accidents. This is a 2.2 percent increase from 2007 and the highest fatality rate of any year since 1975.
  • Approximately 148,000 motorcyclists have died since the 1966 passage of the Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
  • Motorcycles account for less than 3 percent of all registered US vehicles and only ride 0.4 percent of all miles travelled by vehicle in the US annually.
  • Motorcyclists are more than 30 times more likely to be killed and 9 times more likely to be injured in an accident compared to a vehicle driver.
  • Older motorcyclists make up half of all the motorcycle accident fatalities in the US, with 51 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities to people over the age of 40 in 2008.
  • The rate of motorcycle accident fatalities for riders under age 30 has fallen consistently in the last 10 years.
  • In nearly 30 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents, the motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
  • In 35 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents, the motorcycle rider was speeding.
  • 25 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents were riding without the proper license.
  • 47 percent of all motorcycles involved in fatal accidents collided with another type of motor vehicle on the road. In these accidents, 77 percent of the motorcycles were struck in the front, while only 7 were rear-ended. 41 percent of these accidents involve the other vehicle turning left when the motorcycle was going straight or passing the vehicle.
  • Fatal motorcycle accidents are more likely to involve collision with a fixed object than another vehicle.
  • The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists' lives in 2008. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, another 823 lives could have been saved.

To learn more about motorcycle accidents and how to protect your rights after an accident, please contact our qualified attorneys today.

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