Motorcycle Accidents in the US

While in years past motorcycles enjoyed a more positive reputation in pop culture, nowadays most consider these vehicles to be as dangerous as they are exciting. Indeed, there are numerous numbers to back up this position, with the motorcycle accident statistics in the US suggesting that motorbikes are perhaps the most dangerous mode of transport commonly used in America. Furthermore, it’s evidently not always the recklessness of bikers themselves that contributes to the risk involved in riding a motorcycle. The statistics show that distracted drivers, manufacturing faults, oversized vehicles and treacherous weather conditions are all responsible for a significant number of motorcycle accidents each year.

What follow are some of the more pertinent motorcycle accident statistics in the US derived from the 2008 report, the most recent accurate report available.

  • Some 5,290 motorbike riders were killed in 2008, which represents a two-percent increase from 2007.
  • 59%, nearly three in five, of those killed in 2008 were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
  • 30%, nearly 1600, of the bikers killed in 2008 were found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above.
  • Around 96,000, roughly the population of Boulder, CO, were injured in motorcycle accidents in 2008.
  • Bikers were involved in 14% of fatal vehicle accidents in 2008.
  • 35% of motocycle operators killed in 2008 were speeding at the time of the accident.
  • 47% (2,554) of motorbikes involved in fatal accidents underwent a collision with another vehicle.
  • When considered in terms of distance covered, motorcycle operators are 37 times more likely than car drivers to die in an accident, and nine times more likely to suffer an injury.
  • A quarter of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2008 involved a collision with a stationary object. For comparison, only 19% of fatal car accidents, 14% of fatal light truck accidents and 4% of fatal heavy truck accidents involved such a collision.
  • A quarter of those who died in motorcycle accidents in 2008 did not hold a valid license at the time of their accident.
  • In 2008, 346 motorbike riders between the ages of fifteen and twenty were killed in motorcycle accidents, and a further 8,000 suffered injuries.
  • 35% of these young bikers were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident.
  • 43% of these young bikers were either unlicensed or holding an invalid license at the time of their accident.
  • 13% of the female motorcycle riders aged fifteen to twenty killed in a motorcycle accident in 2008 were found to have been drinking shortly prior to the crash.
  • Double that number, 26%, of young male riders were found to have been drinking shortly prior to the crash.

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