The number of motorcycles on the road each year is steadily increasing. In 2011, the total number of motorcycles on the highway in the United States was 8,437,502. Using that number, almost 3 percent of all registered vehicles on the road are motorcycles.
When it comes to accidents and crashes, there are several statistics concerning motorcycles that are very sobering. For instance, the cause of death for individuals involved in motorcycle fatalities is a head injury. It is estimated that 40 percent of all motorcycle deaths are the result of the driver or passenger not wearing a helmet.
Statistics show that in 2010, 11 percent of all accidents on roads in the United States involve motorcycles. In more than half of all motorcycle accidents that involve a fatality, there is more than one vehicle involved. Motorcycle fatalities occurred as a result of the bike colliding with another vehicle in more than 49 percent of accidents. Only 6 percent of motorcycle fatalities were caused by the bike being rear ended or struck from behind. Over 42 percent of all motorcycle deaths involve at least 2 vehicles.
In accidents involving motorcycle fatalities, 38 percent, or roughly 757 riders, the cause of the crash was another vehicle turning left into the path of the cyclist. This included times when the cyclist was turning, passing another vehicle or was traveling legally within their own lane.
In 2011, 1,791 motorcycle accidents resulting in a fatality involved only one vehicle. It was determined in these cases that approximately 48 percent of motorcycle riders involved in this type of crash were speeding. Crash reports support the claim that at least 42 percent of accidents that fall into this category involved drivers who had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. When taking into consideration all motor vehicles accidents, at least 33 percent of riders killed in motorcycle accidents were found to be under the influence of alcohol.
The amount of miles traveled by all types of vehicles in the United States is staggering. It is estimated that according to the figures, motorcycle riders are at least 30 percent more likely to be involved in an accident that involves a fatality. The steadily increasing number of riders and bikes that take to the highways each year, will continue to cause those numbers to fluctuate.
While the number of miles, the number of bikes and riders steadily begin to increase on the country’s highways, the awareness of the public also will continue to rise. Many states are repealing helmet laws and giving the option for safety back to the rider. This has proven to increase the number of motorcycle fatalities each year. When given the option to ride without a helmet, however, many riders will choose to ride without one. They claim that many helmets, especially full face ones, obstruct their view and limit their ability to hear.
Each rider who takes to the road on the back of a motorcycle is willing to bear the risk of riding without a helmet or, if they choose to wear a helmet, bearing the risk of putting their lives in the hands of other motorists.