What Percentage of Motorcycle Accidents Are Fatal?

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A black and white photo signifying a fatal motorcycle accident. A car is parked next to a helmet and overturned motorcycle.

Although there is only a tiny percentage of motorcycles out on the road compared to other vehicles, motorcycles make up a large percentage of fatal accidents. In addition, motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than other vehicles, as they offer little bodily protection, leaving many motorcycle accident injury victims with severe injuries, some of which may be permanent or fatal. Although all dangers inherent in motorcycle riding cannot be eliminated, risks may be reduced by practicing some simple safety practices.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a motorcycle accident? Contact the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ to receive your free, no-obligation consultation by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

While riding a motorcycle always comes with risk, certain risky behaviors can significantly increase the chance of a motorcycle accident. The most common type of motorcycle accidents include:

1. Lane Splitting

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider drives between lanes of slower-moving vehicles or stopped traffic. Depending on your state, lane splitting may or may not be legal, but it is always dangerous. While “technically” legal in North Carolina, this maneuvering leads to an increased risk of accident as drivers often do not expect a vehicle to move through tight spaces between rows of cars.

2. Left-Hand Turns

In 2020, 42% of motorcycle collisions occurred due to a vehicle making a left-hand turn and striking the motorcycle. As a motorcycle rider, you should always be on the lookout for cars that may intend to make a left-hand turn.

3. DWI-Related Accident

In 2021, 19% of motorcyclist fatalities involving another vehicle were under the influence of alcohol. Fatalities involving single-vehicle motorcycle collisions involved 42% of riders who were impaired. It is hazardous to drive any kind of vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. However, drying a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous.

4. Head-On Collisions

Over half of all motorcycle accident deaths involve a head-on collision. Therefore, as a motorcycle rider, you must be particularly careful to avoid a head-on collision.

5. Corner-Turn Motorcycle Accidents

Turning a corner on a motorcycle can quickly become dangerous. Even a small amount of sand, gravel, or water can lead the tires to lose traction leading to a crash. Familiarize yourself with any potential hazards on the road near turns, and take turns slowly with control.

6. High-Speed Collisions

Speeding and high speeds reduce your level of control overriding, leading to a significantly higher likelihood of fatality. In addition, motorcycles are particularly dangerous at high speeds due to how lightweight they are.

Why Are Motorcycle Collisions More Often Fatal?

Motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than other vehicles because a bike does not offer the same type of bodily protection that other vehicles can provide. Additionally, it is highly likely that you will be thrown from the bike when you are involved in an accident while on a motorcycle, making additional injuries likely. Although motorcycles only represent 3% of registered vehicles, they account for 14% of vehicle-related deaths. Statistics indicate that motorcycle deaths occur nearly 28x more frequently than passenger vehicle fatalities in car collisions. Motorcycle collisions may occur due to environmental, vehicle, or human factors.

What Percentage of Motorcycle Accidents Are Fatal?

In a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), out of all the motorcycle collisions analyzed, 11% of motorcycle accidents were fatal. Furthermore, out of all motorcycle fatalities, 50% were caused by single-vehicle accidents not involving another party despite the fact that single-vehicle motorcycle collisions only represented 19% of all motorcycle accidents.

Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

Regarding motorcycle accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board reported the following statistics:

  • Over half of motorcycle collisions took place on the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • 65% of motorcycle collisions occurred in an urban area
  • 79% of motorcycle collisions occur on arterial roads
  • Motorcycle collisions typically occur between 2PM and 8PM
  • Motorcycles accidents were least likely to occur between 12AM and 6AM
  • 66% of crashes occurred during the daytime
  • 27% of crashes occur at night

5 Essential Safety Practices For Motorcyclists

When taking certain precautions, you may lessen your risk of being injured while riding significantly.

1. Take a Safety Course

If you are a beginning rider or thinking of reentering riding, you should invest in a motorcycle safety course. Techniques taught in these courses can save a rider’s life in the event of a crash. Topics may include collision avoidance techniques, advanced turning techniques, and braking techniques.

2. Check the Weather

It is significantly more dangerous to drive in harsh weather conditions such as snow, ice, or rain than to drive in good weather. Bad road conditions due to adverse weather can easily lead to a rider losing traction. If in doubt, avoid riding in any adverse weather conditions.

3. Wear Appropriate Gear

Proper motorcycle gear will give you an added layer of protection against road rash and head injuries. Typical motorcycle gear includes a jacket, pants or chaps, gloves, boots, and a helmet.

4. Observe Traffic Rules

Speeding leads to countless accidents and deaths. In 2020, 34% of motorcycle rider fatalities involved rider speeding. Ensuring you slow down, use turn signals, and abide by traffic laws can help ensure you remain safe.

5. Drive Defensively

Many motorcycle accidents occur due to other drivers failing to see you and your bike while driving. As a motorcycle rider, you must practice defensive driving and be extra observant while out on the road. Ensure that you react when other drivers are driving erratically and keep a safe space between you and other riders.

How Much is a Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?

As each crash involving a motorcycle is unique, it is impossible to predict how much a claim may be worth. The value of a claim will consider the following:

  •   The extent and severity of your injuries
  •   Medical expenses
  •   Future medical expense
  •   Lost wages
  •   Lost earning capacity
  •   Pain and suffering

While economic damages such as medical expenses and lost income are easy to calculate, intangible damages such as pain and suffering are more difficult to enumerate. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine your case’s worth.

North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Although it is impossible to guarantee safety while riding a motorcycle, ensuring that you take precautions to practice safe riding habits can help protect you and others while riding. However, accidents still occur, and you should never have to pay for another driver’s negligence. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t delay reaching out to the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters, ‘ today to see what we can do for you. You will receive a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys to discuss what your legal options are and what steps to take next.

Here at Tatum & Atkinson, the ‘Heavy Hitters’, we accept motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never have to pay attorneys fees out of pocket, and we will not get paid unless you win. Contact us today by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online to receive your free case evaluation to see what we can do to help you.