What You Should Know About Motorcycle Crashes
It should come as no surprise that motorcycle crashes tend to be more severe than car crashes. While there are a number of measures motorcyclists can take to reduce the risk of injury, there is an even larger issue to consider: motorcycle crashes are disproportionately more likely to occur than car crashes.
What could account for this difference and what can we do to change it?
Motorcycles account for less than 5% of registered vehicles on the road. Despite this, motorcycles are involved in 11% of all motor vehicle crashes and 15% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
Compounding the disproportionate rate of motorcycle crashes is the fact that more than 80% of motorcycle accidents lead to hospitalization or death. That number should be shocking to anyone who rides a motorcycle, especially because many of these fatalities are preventable when motorcyclists wear helmets and other protective gear.
There are some demographic trends in motorcycle ridership that may contribute to the disproportionate rate of motorcycle crashes. New motorcyclists are more likely to be in a crash than the average rider. However, they are not at the greatest risk of a fatality. That distinction rests with men over the age of 40, a group which accounts for half of all motorcycle fatalities per year.
What’s notable about this finding is that older motorcyclists are actually more likely to wear a helmet than younger riders. The issue was not safety gear, it was the nature of the crash. Roughly 1-in-3 motorcycle fatalities are the result of drunk driving and these crashes skew toward older men.
There’s no simple fix to this problem, but it is important for motorcyclists to recognize that they are at greater risk of being involved in a crash and that those crashes are very likely to be fatal. At a minimum, motorcycle riders of all age groups should always wear a helmet and protective gear, and never ride while intoxicated.