Motorcycle Accident Statistics
While most people recognize that riding a motorcycle can be more dangerous than driving an automobile, there are numerous government studies that back up this assumption. In Texas there were 463 fatalities in 2014 involving people riding motorcycles. Drivers aged 21 to 24, 27 to 29 and 51 to 56 had the highest number of deaths than any other age category. The vast majority of those involved were male as females only accounted for 3% of the total. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are more than 26 times more likely than passenger car drivers and occupants to die in a car accident.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that, nationwide the percentage of fatalities on motorcycles, as compared to those in cars have been increasing in recent years. Historically, between the years 1975-2000 this percentage was anywhere from 5% to 10%.
Nationwide passenger vehicle occupant and motorcyclist deaths as a percentage of all motor vehicle crash deaths 2000-2013.
Trends & Analysis
- Fatalities in car accidents decreased, however, those involving motorcycles increased. The most alarming trend that we can see over this time period is that the number of deaths in car accidents has been steadily decreasing since 2005 and the opposite is true for those who ride motorcycles. In the entire time period of 1975 to 2013 only two years did the number of Motorcyclist deaths exceed 5,000 and that was in 2007 and 2008.
- Percentage of motorcycle accidents have increased and now exceed 10% every year since 2005. There are two reasons for this trend, the number of fatal car accidents have decreased while at the same time fatal motorcycle accidents have increased.
Motorcycle Helmet Use
It is surprising that with these trends state laws regarding mandatory use of helmets have not changed. At this time only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire are the only states that have no motorcycle helmet laws. In light of recent statistics it is astonishing that this is the case. In Texas, motorcyclists can ride without a helmet as long as they are age 21 years or older, have proof of taking a training or safety course and have a medical insurance policy. Some studies have shown that helmets give the driver a 37% better chance of surviving a crash and a 67% better chance of avoiding brain injuries. These facts alone should cause state legislators to change the laws regarding helmet use.
It is important to note that riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be seriously injured as well. It is very common for these riders to ride without a helmet and yet they can be found on our public roads where fatalities have occurred. Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle or an ATV is just like wearing a seatbelt, if not more important since you are more likely to suffer serious injury on these types of vehicles. Wearing a helmet should not be the exception but the norm.