While riders know how thrilling a motorcycle can be, the unfortunate truth is that accidents happen all too frequently. Whether you’re new to motorcycles, or you’re a seasoned veteran who has been on a bike for years, you should have a good grasp of the laws governing motorcycle use so that you can stay as safe as possible.
If you’re a rider and you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, The Eberst Law Firm has a team of skilled attorneys who will work to help you obtain the money you deserve. You can give us a call at 772-225-5566 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Here are a few motorcycle accident statistics every rider should know. Hopefully, you’ll use this information to take the steps needed to make you safer the next time you get on your bike.
1. About 70% of Riders Wear a Helmet
Florida law states that motorcycle riders over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet. While you may be within the law, riding without head protection simply isn’t a good idea.
The good news is that nationwide, about 70% of riders wore a helmet in 2020. That’s slightly down from 71% the years before. Helmets that comply with Department of Transportation rules come in many different types. Some of them only cover the top half of the head above the ears, while others cover the entire head.
Research indicates that riders who only wear half-coverage helmets are twice as likely to incur severe head injuries as those who wear other models. While some feel that helmets restrict peripheral vision, reduce hearing, and increase the risks of head and neck injuries, many studies totally refute those claims.
2. The Fatality Rate for Accidents is High
Riding a motorcycle should be an exhilarating experience, one that allows the rider to express themselves, and feel the thrill of being on the open road. Tragically, however, far too many rides end in death. A little more than 5,000 riders died in 2019– more than twice the number of fatalities that occurred in 1997.
3. Many Injuries Cause Life-Long Damage
About 80% of all accidents involving a motorcycle either result in an injury or a fatality, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Accidents nearly always result in the rider being thrown the motorcycle, hitting the ground with an incredible amount of force.
When a motorcycle collides with a passenger car or truck, that force gets exponentially higher. Motorists have protection, such as seat belts, airbags, and the frame of a vehicle. That doesn’t apply to motorcycle riders.
Bikers know all too well just how devastating motorcycle accident injuries can be. No matter how safe you are, the risk of a horrible accident is always there. The risks get even higher when you’re trying to ride in challenging weather conditions, such as riding in a Florida thunderstorm.
Motorcyclists often suffer terrible injuries that can lead to a lifetime of debilitation. These include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and many others. These injuries can not only result in years of misery, but the costs associated with treating them can easily get into the tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of dollars – if not more.
4. Accidents are More Frequent on Nights and Weekends
In 2019, 48% of motorcycle fatalities happened on weekends, mainly after 6 p.m. One of the reasons motorcyclists are involved in accidents is that drivers of four-wheel vehicles have a hard time seeing them – even in daylight. When nightfall comes, it’s even harder. Riders should seriously consider wearing bright, reflective clothing, no matter what time of the day or night it may be.
5. Passenger Cars Cause the Most Motorcycle Accidents
There are a lot of potential causes of motorcycle accidents, but they typically involve a passenger car. It’s estimated that about 75% of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with a four-wheel vehicle.
The most common cause of a collision between a motorcycle and a car is the left-turn accident. Drivers will often claim they didn’t see the motorcycle until it was too late, until the bike slammed into the side of their car.
Riders can take some steps to reduce the chance of a left-turn accident. For example, they can always watch the car’s tires to see if it’s about to turn, or flash their bright lights to get the driver’s attention. Keeping a lot of space between themselves and cars in front of them can reduce the risk of an accident as well.
Distracted drivers also contribute to motorcycle accidents. Texting and talking on smartphones, changing radio stations, and eating are all potentially destructive behaviors that can take a driver’s focus off of the road. When that happens, and a motorcycle is nearby, the resulting accident can have catastrophic consequences.
6. Alcohol is Often a Factor
Of course, motorcyclists sometimes also have to shoulder their share of the blame when an accident occurs – this is especially true when riders have been drinking or using drugs before getting on the road.
The NHTSA reports that nearly 30% of riders killed in accidents had blood alcohol levels that were higher than the legal limit. About 45% had at least some amount of alcohol in their system. Alcohol impairs not only judgment, but also balance and coordination – and that’s obviously no good when you’re trying to balance on a motorcycle.
7. More than 30% of Riders in Motorcycle Accidents Don’t have a License
Too many people fail to realize that riding a motorcycle takes skill. They assume they can just get on top of a bike and ride just fine. The reason states require special licenses for motorcycles is a testament to that fact. Unfortunately, experts estimate that 36% of fatal motorcycle wrecks in 2021 involved riders who aren’t licensed.
8. Percentages of Motorcycle Fatalities are Trending Up
The percentage of motorcyclist deaths when compared to all passenger vehicle fatalities has been on the rise in recent years. Between 1975 and 2004, rider deaths hovered between 5-10% Since 2005, however, the percentages have remained between 11-15%.
9. Registrations are Up, But Owners Aren’t Riding as Much
Even though the number of registered motorcycles in the US went up nearly 40% from 2007 to 2021, the number of miles ridden actually went down 8% during that time.
10. Florida Was the Deadliest State for Riders in 2020
Florida ranked No. 1 for motorcycle accident fatalities in 2020, with 600. Along with our state, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and California accounted for about 37% of all US motorcycle deaths that year. California is the only state among those with the highest fatality rates that require all riders to wear helmets, regardless of their age.
The District of Columbia, Vermont, and Alaska all reported fewer than 10 bike accident deaths that year.
11. A Large Percentage of Riders Die Due to Hitting Stationary Objects
You might assume that motorcyclists would rarely hit a fixed object on the road, but it happens more than you think. Researchers estimate that 25% of fatalities in motorcycle accidents occur when a bike hits a stationary object.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney if You’ve Been Involved in an Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent motorist, you have the right to obtain compensation. Once you’ve received the medical help you need, you should contact an attorney who has experience helping motorcyclists.
The Eberst Law Firm is staffed with a team of skilled attorneys who have that experience, and also have the passion to fight for the rights of those who suffered harm through no fault of their own. We’ll work to gather the evidence needed to make your case its strongest.