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Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience. Unfortunately, this comes with a lot of risks. Here are motorcycle accident statistics that paint a clearer picture of what every rider should be aware of.

Motorcycle Fatality Rates Are on the Rise

Over the past two decades, motorcycle fatality rates have increased significantly:

  • In 2000, there were 3,714 motorcycle crash fatalities in the United States. By 2019, this number had risen to 5,014 – a 35% increase

The rising fatality rates may be because of:

  • More bikes on the roads
  • Larger, faster motorcycles that can reach higher speeds
  • Lack of helmet use and other safety gear in some states
  • More congested roads leaving less room to maneuver

Regardless of the causes, it’s clear that motorcycle riding carries significant safety risks that riders must take seriously.

Leading Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

When analyzing motorcycle accident statistics, some causes stand out as the most common factors in crashes:

1. Speeding

Excessive speed is a major contributor to many motorcycle crashes. Some key stats:

  • In 2018, speeding was a factor in 37% of all fatal motorcycle crashes in the U.S.
  • Almost half (48%) of speeding motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were also drinking alcohol. Combining speeding and alcohol dramatically increases risk.
  • The average speed in fatal motorcycle crashes is around 55 mph. Speeds over 50 mph make crashes much more severe due to the force of impact.

2. Alcohol Impairment

Drinking adversely affects judgment, reaction times, coordination, and overall ability to operate a motorcycle safely. Key alcohol-related stats include:

  • In 2018, 28% of fatally injured motorcyclists had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. In total, alcohol was involved in 38% of rider deaths.
  • At BAC levels of 0.05% to 0.079% (below legal limits), motorcyclists were 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal single-vehicle crash than sober riders. Impairment starts well before the legal limit.
  • In 2016, 25% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had previous DUI convictions – the highest rate of any driver type.

Clearly, drinking and riding is a hazardous combination. Even small amounts of alcohol can greatly increase the risk of a serious or fatal motorcycle crash.

3. Lack of helmet use

Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet is one of the most effective ways for a motorcyclist to stay safe on the roads. However, many riders still avoid helmets given that in 2018, 46% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were not wearing helmets.

Who is Most at Risk?

Motorcycle accident statistics identify certain groups of riders as having higher risk profiles:


Younger motorcyclists have the highest fatality rates per vehicle miles traveled. For example, in 2018, riders aged 20-29 had a fatality rate of 44 per 100 million miles – far exceeding the 23 per 100 million rate for all riders.


  • Over 80% of motorcyclists killed in crashes are men.
  • Male riders have higher rates of speeding, alcohol impairment, and lack of helmet use – all significant crash factors.

Licensing status

  • In 2018, 25% of fatally injured motorcycle operators did not have valid motorcycle licenses. Completing rider training helps reduce risk.
  • Unendorsed riders are 1.5 times more likely to be impaired by alcohol in fatal crashes compared to properly licensed operators. Licensing indicates knowledge of motorcycle safety requirements.

Licensing status is another indicator of riding experience and risk behavior.

By being aware of these higher-risk groups, riders can take steps to ride more cautiously and use proper safety equipment and training.

Motorcycle Death Rates Vary by State

Motorcycle fatality statistics also show large geographic differences across the U.S.

States with the highest fatality rates per registered motorcycle include:

  • Montana – 106 deaths per 100k motorcycles
  • Louisiana – 105 deaths per 100k motorcycles
  • New Mexico – 104 deaths per 100k motorcycles

Meanwhile, states with the lowest fatality rates include:

  • Massachusetts – 32 deaths per 100k motorcycles
  • Minnesota – 46 deaths per 100k motorcycles
  • Alaska – 51 deaths per 100k motorcycles

Regional differences in weather, road conditions, speed limits, helmet laws, rider training, and other factors likely contribute to these state-by-state variations. Riders should be extra vigilant when touring in states with higher motorcycle crash rates.

Costs of Motorcycle Crashes Add Up

Beyond the obvious toll of rider injuries and fatalities, motorcycle accidents also carry high economic costs including:

  • Emergency medical expenses – The average cost of a motorcycle crash requiring hospitalization is over $55,000 according to the Center for Disease Control. Severe injuries involving long-term rehabilitation and care can cost hundreds of thousands.
  • Lost productivity – For motorcyclists killed or disabled by crashes, future economic contributions are lost along with quality of life. NHTSA estimates lifetime economic costs of $814 million for each fatal motorcycle crash.
  • Vehicle damage – Repair or replacement costs for damaged motorcycles and other vehicles involved in collisions.
  • Legal and court fees – Expenses incurred if claims or lawsuits are filed related to the accident.
  • Insurance costs – Motorcycle crashes drive up liability and medical insurance costs for all policyholders. Insurers may increase motorcycle insurance rates after crashes due to higher perceived risk.

Considering these costs, it is clear that a motorcycle accident can be extremely costly and burdensome.

However, a good motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover most of these expenses by filing a lawsuit. And just like what any good airplane accident lawyer in Houston will have to do in an airplane accident case, they will need to prove your case by presenting convincing evidence before the court to claim compensation successfully.

Key Takeaways on Motorcycle Safety

Reviewing the leading motorcycle accident statistics provides some clear lessons for staying safe on two wheels:

  • Maintain safe speeds and allow extra stopping distance. Speeding severely worsens crash outcomes.
  • Never ride impaired. Even small amounts of alcohol greatly increase risk.
  • Wear helmets and protective gear – they save lives.
  • Get formal training and maintain motorcycle licensing.
  • Ride cautiously, especially in states with higher motorcycle fatality rates.
  • Be alert to other motorists and road hazards. Car drivers often fail to notice bikes.

While motorcycling comes with inherent risks, being an informed and responsible rider goes a long way in reducing the dangers.

Take the time to review motorcycle safety facts and refresh your skills regularly. The right mindset and preparation help ensure every ride is a safe and enjoyable adventure.

Finding the Right Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have unfortunately been involved in a motorcycle crash, finding an experienced attorney can help protect your rights during the claims and recovery process. Keep these tips in mind when selecting a lawyer:

  • Look for a firm that specializes in motorcycle accident cases – this focus ensures they have deep knowledge of motorcycle-specific laws and insurance policies. However, if the motorcycle accident resulted in special injuries like brain injuries, then brain injury lawyers in Houston who specialize in brain injuries will also be a great option.
  • Consider lawyers who have successfully handled cases similar to yours – past experience with comparable crashes or injuries indicates the ability to get positive results.
  • Choose an attorney who is familiar with local courts, laws, and insurance companies – this familiarity facilitates reaching favorable settlements and verdicts.
  • Find someone who communicates clearly and keeps you informed during the legal process – you want an attorney responsive to your needs and concerns.
  • Ask about contingency fee arrangements – this structures attorney compensation as a percentage of final settlement amounts, avoiding large hourly fees.
  • Be sure the lawyer has sufficient staff and resources to thoroughly pursue the case – individual attention and persistence are needed to maximize claim payouts.

With the right motorcycle accident attorney representing you, costly mistakes can be avoided while working to recover the full compensation you deserve.

Stay Alert, Stay Safe

While motorcycle riding brings excitement and freedom, it also carries serious safety risks that can’t be ignored. However, awareness of motorcycle accident statistics and taking responsible precautions improves safety for all road users.

Ride defensively, stay focused, follow the rules of the road, and enjoy the ride – just be sure to get home safely. With common sense and vigilance, the open road can remain a rewarding place.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one are victims of a motorcycle accident and are looking for more information or legal assistance after a motorcycle crash in Houston, contact us at (713) 804-8149 for a free consultation. With years of experience and a proven record of results for injured riders, we can help maximize the compensation you receive. Don’t leave settlement offers to chance – get experienced legal guidance.

About the Author


Husain Law Firm

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