Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycles are by their nature far less crashworthy than closed vehicles. They are also less visible to other drivers and pedestrians and less stable than four-wheel vehicles. Operating a motorcycle requires a different combination of physical and mental skills than those used in driving four-wheel vehicles. Motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to the hazards of weather and road conditions than drivers in closed vehicles.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) released preliminary data in May 2016 that show that motorcyclist fatalities rose 10 percent in 2015 from 2014. The number of motorcyclist fatalities were estimated at 5,010 in 2015, the third year in history that motorcyclist fatalities topped 5,000. The GHSA estimated that motorcyclist fatalities rose in 31 states in 2015.

In 2014 motorcycle fatalities fell 2.3 percent to 4,586 from 4,692  in 2013.  In 2013, 56 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles was involved in a fatal crash, compared with only 9 out of every 100,000 passenger cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Motorcyclists were about 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled in 2013 and five times more likely to be injured, according to NHTSA. Note: statistics on fatal motorcycle crashes are also available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

Motorcycle Helmet Use, 1996-2015 (1)

 

Year Percent Year Percent
1996 64% 2009 67%
1998 67 2010 54
2000 71 2011 66
2005 48 2012 60
2006 51 2013 60
2007 58 2014 64
2008 63 2015 61

(1) Based on surveys of motorcyclists using helmets meeting Department of Transportation standards. Surveys conducted in October for 1996-2000 and in June thereafter.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Occupant Protection Use Survey, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

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Motorcyclist Fatalities And Fatality Rates, 2005-2014

Year Fatalities Registered
motorcycles
Fatality rate per 100,000
registered motorcycles
Vehicle miles
traveled (millions)
Fatality rate per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled
2005 4,576 6,227,146 73.48 10,454 43.77
2006 4,837 6,678,958 72.42 12,049 40.14
2007 5,174 7,138,476 72.48 21,396 24.18
2008 5,312 7,752,926 68.52 20,811 25.52
2009 4,469 7,929,724 56.36 20,822 21.46
2010 4,518 8,009,503 56.41 18,513 24.40
2011 4,630 8,437,502 54.87 18,542 24.97
2012 4,986 8,454,939 58.97 21,385 23.32
2013 4,692 8,404,687 55.83 20,366 23.04
2014 4,586 8,417,718 54.48 19,970 22.96

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Federal Highway Administration.

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Motorcyclist Injuries And Injury Rates, 2005-2014

 

Year Injuries Registered
motorcycles
Injury rate per 100,000
registered motorcycles
Vehicle miles
traveled (millions)
Injury rate per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled
2005 87,000 6,227,146 1,402 10,454 835
2006 88,000 6,678,958 1,312 12,049 727
2007 103,000 7,138,476 1,443 21,396 481
2008 96,000 7,752,926 1,238 20,811 461
2009 90,000 7,929,724 1,130 20,822 430
2010 82,000 8,009,503 1,024 18,513 443
2011 81,000 8,437,502 965 18,542 439
2012 93,000 8,454,939 1,099 21,385 434
2013 88,000 8,404,687 1,052 20,366 434
2014 92,000 8,417,718 1,088 19,970 459

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Federal Highway Administration.

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Occupant Fatality Rates By Vehicle Type, 2005 And 2014

Fatality rate Motorcycles Light trucks Passenger cars
2005      
     Per 100,000 registered vehicles 73.48 13.75 13.68
     Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled 43.77 1.15 1.14
2014      
     Per 100,000 registered vehicles 54.48 7.37 9.09
     Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled 22.96 0.07 0.85
Percent change, 2005-2014      
     Per 100,000 registered vehicles -25.9% -46.4% -33.6%
     Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled -47.58 -53.3 -25.4

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Motorcyclists Killed or Injured, by Time of Day and Day of Week, 2014

  Day of Week    
  Weekday Weekend Total
  Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Motorcyclists killed  
Midnight to 3 am 144 6.4% 276 11.8% 420 9.2%
3 am to 6 am 83 3.7 103 4.4 186 4.1
6 am to 9 am 207 9.2 72 3.1 279 6.1
9 am to noon 201 9.0 209 8.9 410 8.9
Noon to 3 pm 373 16.6 337 14.4 710 15.5
3 pm to 6 pm 537 24.0 445 19.0 982 21.4
6 pm to 9 pm 406 18.1 536 22.9 942 20.5
9 pm to midnight 282 12.6 354 15.1 636 13.9
Unknown 8 0.4 7 0.3 21 0.5
Total 2,241 100.0% 2,339 100.0% 4,586 (1) 100.0%
Motorcyclists injured            
Midnight to 3 am 1,000 2.7% 2,000 5.0% 3,000 3.7%
3 am to 6 am 1,000 2.4 1,000 3.6 3,000 2.9
6 am to 9 am 5,000 9.8 1,000 2.0 6,000 6.3
9 am to noon 6,000 12.1 4,000 10.2 10,000 11.2
Noon to 3 pm 9,000 17.0 8,000 19.1 16,000 17.9
3 pm to 6 pm 17,000 34.2 10,000 25.2 28,000 30.1
6 pm to 9 pm 8,000 16.0 9,000 20.9 17,000 18.2
9 pm to midnight 3,000 5.8 6,000 14.1 9,000 9.5
Total 51,000 100.0% 41,000 100.0% 92,000 100.0%

(1) Includes 6 motorcyclists killed on unknown day of week.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration.

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Vehicles Involved in Crashes by Vehicle Type and Crash Severity, 2014

  Crash severity    
  Fatal Injury Property damage only Total
Vehicle type Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Passenger car   17,848 39.8% 1,685,000 55.9% 4,279,000 55.3% 5,982,000 55.4%
Light truck   17,136 38.2 1,138,000 37.8 3,028,000 39.1 4,184,000 38.7
Large truck   3,744 8.3 88,000 2.9 346,000 4.5 438,000 4.1
Motorcycle   4,694 10.5 87,000 2.9% 19,000 0.2 110,000 1.0
Bus   234 0.5 11,000 0.4 58,000 0.8 69,000 0.6
Other   550 1.2 5,000 0.2 9,000 0.1 15,000 0.1
Total 44,858 (1) 100.0% 3,015,000 100.0% 7,739,000 100.0% 10,799,000 100.0%

(1) Includes 679 vehicles of unknown type involved in fatal crashes.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Persons Killed In Total And Alcohol-Impaired Crashes By Person Type, 2014

 

    Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (1)
Person type Total killed Number Percent of total killed
Vehicle occupants      
     Driver 16,454 5,792 35%
     Passenger 5,751 1,769 31
     Unknown occupant 71 5 6
     Total 22,276 7,565 34%
Motorcyclists 4,586 1,577 34%
Nonoccupants      
     Pedestrian 4,884 696 14
     Pedalcyclist 726 98 13
     Other/unknown 203 30 15
     Total 5,813 824 14%
Total 32,675 9,967 31%

(1) Alcohol-impaired driving crashes are crashes that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or above, the legal definition of drunk driving.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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DRIVERS IN FATAL CRASHES BY BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION (BAC) AND VEHICLE TYPE, 2005-2014 (1)

  Passenger car Light truck Large truck Motorcycles
    Percent    Percent    Percent    Percent 
Year Total BAC = 0.01+ BAC = 0.08+ Total BAC = 0.01+ BAC = 0.08+ Total BAC = 0.01+ BAC = 0.08+ Total BAC = 0.01+ BAC = 0.08+
2005 25,046 28% 24% 22,879 25% 22% 4,900 3% 1% 4,679 34% 27%
2006 24,162 27 23 22,307 28 24 4,729 2 1 4,961 34 26
2007 22,765 27 23 21,719 27 23 4,601 2 1 5,306 35 27
2008 20,379 27 23 19,095 26 23 4,040 3 2 5,405 36 29
2009 18,344 27 23 17,878 27 23 3,182 3 2 4,601 36 29
2010 17,710 27 24 17,385 25 22 3,456 2 1 4,647 36 28
2011 17,401 27 24 16,706 25 21 3,594 3 1 4,761 37 29
2012 17,992 26 23 17,131 25 22 3,753 3 2 5,075 35 27
2013 17,731 27 23 16,738 25 21 3,858 4 2 4,769 34 27
2014 17,757 26 22 17,017 25 22 3,697 3 2 4,692 36 29

(1) NHTSA estimates alcohol involvement when alcohol test results are unknown.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration.

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