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.

n 2013 motorcycle fatalities fell 6.4 percent to 4,668 from 4,986 in 2012. 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, 1996-2014 (1)

 

Year Percent Year Percent
1996 64% 2008 63%
1998 67 2009 67
2000 71 2010 54
2002 58 2011 66
2004 58 2012 60
2005 48 2013 60
2006 51 2014 64
2007 58    

(1) Based on surveys of motorcyclists using helmets meeting Department of Transportation standards. Surveys conducted in October for 1994-2000 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, 2004-2013

Year Fatalities Registered motorcycles Fatality rate per 100,000
registered motorcycles
Vehicle miles
traveled (millions)
Fatality rate per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled
2004 4,028 5,767,934 69.83 10,122 39.79
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 4,668 8,404,687 55.54 20,366 22.92

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

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MOTORCYCLIST INJURIES AND INJURY RATES, 2004-2013

 

Year Injuries Registered motorcycles Injury rate per 100,000
registered motorcycles
Vehicle miles traveled
(millions)
Injury rate per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled
2004 76,000 5,767,934 1,324 10,122 755
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

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

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OCCUPANT FATALITY RATES BY VEHICLE TYPE, 2004 AND 2013

Fatality rate Motorcycles Light trucks Passenger cars
2004      
     Per 100,000 registered vehicles 69.83 14.11 14.39
     Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled 39.79 1.16 1.18
2013      
     Per 100,000 registered vehicles 55.54 7.60 9.29
     Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled 22.92 0.71 0.86
Percent change, 2004-2013      
     Per 100,000 registered vehicles -20.5% -46.1% -35.4%
     Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled -42.4 -38.8 -27.1

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

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MOTORCYCLE RIDERS KILLED OR INJURED BY TIME OF DAY AND DAY OF WEEK, 2013

  Day of week
  Weekday Weekend Total
Time of day Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Motorcycle riders killed            
Midnight to 3 am 162 6.8% 255 11.3% 417 8.9%
3 am to 6 am 105 4.4 103 4.5 208 4.5
6 am to 9 am 220 9.2 58 2.6 278 6.0
9 am to noon 268 11.2 192 8.5 460 9.9
Noon to 3 pm 404 16.9 369 16.3 773 16.6
3 pm to 6 pm 525 21.9 418 18.5 943 20.2
6 pm to 9 pm  404 16.9 496 21.9 900 19.3
9 pm to midnight 299 12.5 363 16.0 662 14.2
Unknown 9 0.4 10 0.4 27 0.6
Total 2,396 100.0% 2,264 100.0% 4,668 (1)  100.0%
Motorcycle riders injured            
Midnight to 3 am 2,000 3.3% 2,000 4.1% 3,000 3.7%
3 am to 6 am 1,000 1.7 2,000 4.0 2,000 2.7
6 am to 9 am 6,000 13.1 1,000 3.2 8,000 8.7
9 am to noon 7,000 14.1 4,000 10.6 11,000 12.5
Noon to 3 pm 8,000 16.1 10,000 24.2 17,000 19.7
3 pm to 6 pm 14,000 28.8 9,000 21.9 23,000 25.7
6 pm to 9 pm 8,000 15.4 8,000 21.2 16,000 18.0
9 pm to midnight 4,000 7.5 4,000 10.8 8,000 9.0
Total 49,000 100.0% 39,000 100.0% 88,000 100.0%

(1) Includes eight 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, 2012

  Crash severity         
  Fatal Injury Property damage only Total
Vehicle type Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Passenger car 18,092 39.6% 1,683,000 57.0% 3,875,000 56.1% 5,577,000 56.3%
Light truck   17,254 37.8 1,087,000 36.8 2,706,000 39.2 3,810,000 38.5
Large truck   3,802 8.3 77,000 2.6 253,000 3.7 333,000 3.4
Motorcycle   5,080 11.1% 89,000 3.0% 18,000 0.3% 112,000 1.1%
Bus   251 0.5 12,000 0.4 42,000 0.6 55,000 0.6
Other   507 1.1 7,000 0.2 8,000 0.1 15,000 0.2
Total   45,637 (1) 100.0% 2,955,000 100.0% 6,902,000 100.0% 9,902,000 100.0%

(1) Includes 651 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, 2013

 

    Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (1)
Person type Total killed Number Percent of total killed
Vehicle occupants      
     Driver 16,472 5,920 36%
     Passenger 5,844 1,822 31
     Unknown occupant 67 2 3
     Total 22,383 7,744 35%
Motorcyclists 4,668 1,496 32%
Nonoccupants      
     Pedestrian 4,735 721 15
     Pedalcyclist 743 92 12
     Other/unknown 190 23 12
     Total 5,668 837 15%
Total 32,719 10,076 31%

(1) Alcohol-impaired driving crashes are crashes that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) 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, 2003-2012 (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+
2003 26,422 26% 22% 22,172 25% 22% 4,658 2% 1% 3,800 36% 29%
2004 25,568 27 23 22,367 25 21 4,837 2 1 4,116 34 27
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

(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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