What Percentage Of Motorcycle Accidents Are Fatal?

What Percentage Of Motorcycle Accidents Are Fatal?

What Percentage Of Motorcycle Accidents Are Fatal

While motorcycles offer an enticing combination of convenience and adventure, there is no denying the danger and risk associated with riding one. Unfortunately, motorcycle riders can be much more susceptible to severe injuries and death in a crash because of a motorcycle’s size and lack of protective features. But just how likely are motorcyclists to suffer deadly consequences from motorcycle collisions? What percentage of motorcycle accidents are fatal?

This article will explore the statistics surrounding fatal motorcycle crashes and what safety measures riders can take to protect themselves. In any case, if you have been in a motorcycle crash, the best way to protect your rights and recover compensation for your injuries is by consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Get in touch with Jared Spingarn in Hollywood, Florida, as soon as possible for legal representation.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

First, it is important to understand some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes to better prepare yourself for riding. Many accidents are caused by the following:

Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Unfamiliarity with the environment (riding in an unfamiliar area or on unfamiliar roads)
  • Poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, or ice
  • Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Vehicle defects

Rate of Motorcycle Accident Fatalities

Here are some statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that presents the percentage of motorcycle accidents that end in fatalities.

Rate of Motorcycle Fatalities

The data from the NHTSA shows that an alarming 14% of all roadway fatalities related to motor vehicles in 2020 were attributed to motorcycle-related deaths, an increase from 5,044 fatalities in 2019 to a staggering 5,579 in 2020. This means that motorcycle riders make up a disproportionately higher percentage of the total fatalities than passenger cars. In particular, in Florida, motorcycle fatalities were 587 in 2020, accounting for 10.5% of all motorcycle deaths in the US.

Motorcyclist Fatalities by Age Group

When broken down by age group, the most vulnerable riders appear to be those between the ages of 25 and 29, wherein 706 fatalities were recorded. It was followed by ages between 30-34 with 690 deaths and ages 65 and above with 530 recorded motorcycle fatalities.

In Florida, the data showed that fatalities of riders between 30-34 were the highest, with 207 deaths, followed by those between 25-29, which had 205 motorcycle fatalities. The third highest was from ages 21-24, with 183 deaths.

These figures show that riders of all ages are at risk. Younger riders tend to be more vulnerable due to their lack of experience and are less likely to wear protective gear such as a motorcycle helmet. Plus, many young riders are thrill seekers, riding without consideration that they can get into a fatal accident. On the other hand, older riders can be at risk because of reduced reflexes and physical prowess.

Fatalities Based on Weather Conditions

The NHTSA reported that in 2020, of the 5,579 fatal motorcycle accidents, 97% occurred under clear skies, 2% occurred under rainy conditions, and 1% happened in snow or other conditions.

The state of Florida has also recorded similar high figures, with 76% of motorcycle fatalities under clear skies, and the remaining 24% happened under cloudy, rainy, and other weather conditions.

Riding under clear skies poses a greater risk of motorcycle fatalities as drivers tend to be less cautious and ride faster in good weather conditions. But riding in the rain is also dangerous as wet roads lead to reduced traction and visibility.

Fatality Rates by Vehicle Type

A staggering difference is seen when motorcycle fatalities are compared to other vehicle types, such as passenger vehicles and trucks. In 2020, the NHTSA reported a 67.08% fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles and a 31.64% rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for motorcycles compared to passenger vehicles’ 10.79% rate per 100,000 registered vehicles, and a 1.15% rate per VMT. Light trucks have lower fatality rates of 6.90% per 100,000 registered vehicles and a 0.74% rate per VMT. This data strengthens the notion that motorcyclists are at much greater risk than other occupants of passenger cars and trucks.

Motorcycle Deaths: Time and Days of the Week

The data on motorcycle deaths gives insight into the dangers of operating a motorbike. With 57% of all such fatalities occurring during daylight hours, riders of all experience levels need to remain vigilant and extra cautious when out during that time. The rates are also high at night, with 37% happening after sunset despite the reduced traffic. Dusk and dawn can be especially dangerous, too, with 4% and 1% of motorcycle deaths occurring during these times of low light.

Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records also show that in 2020, more crashes happen on weekends with 2,806 deaths out of 5,579 total fatalities, a rate of 50.4%, compared to weekdays which had 2,773 deaths, a 49.6% rate. This difference is not really that significant, but this shows that riders need to be aware of the risks at all times, not just when out during weekends.

Fatalities by Engine Type

The data also reveals that most fatal motorcycle crashes involved motorcycles with larger engine displacements, such as those with 500-1000cc engines, wherein 1,883 deaths occurred, accounting for 34% of the total deaths. It was followed by motorcycles with 1,501cc and above engines that registered 1,416 or 25% of the fatalities.

Registered motorcycles with 1,001-1,500cc engines accounted for 1,247 or 22% of deaths, and 500cc and below engines accounted for 491 or 9% of motorcycle fatalities. Lastly, unknown engine types were responsible for 546 or 10% of the fatal crashes. This data indicates that smaller engines are relatively safer than bigger ones, as riders with larger engine displacement bikes tend to drive faster and take more risks on the road.

Fatalities due to Speeding and Alcohol Impairment

Fatalities by Engine Type

The NHTSA reported that in 2020, speeding was a factor in 34% of fatal motorcycle crashes. Driving under the influence of alcohol was also a contributor, with 1,436 deaths recorded or 27% of fatal crashes involving motorcyclists. These disconcerting statistics demonstrate that some riders may be disregarding traffic laws and taking dangerous risks while on the road, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.

Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities

The NHTSA data also shows another harsh statistic: 38% of motorcycle fatalities, or 2,143 deaths, were unhelmeted riders. In Florida, 50% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved riders not wearing helmets.

Where do motorcycle crash fatalities happen?

The NHTSA also provides information on what road fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in 2020. Urban roads were the most dangerous, with 61% of all fatalities. Rural roads accounted for 39%. Non-interstate routes made up 92%, while interstate highways claimed the remaining 8%. Moreover, 65% of deaths occurred away from intersections, whereas 35% happened at junctions.

Based on these figures, urban roads tend to be more dangerous for motorcyclists because of the higher traffic density, so riders should be more cautious when riding in cities. Non-interstate routes pose risks, too, because of their curved paths.

The Aftermath of a Deadly Motorcycle Crash

A fatal motorcycle crash can devastate the victims’ families and friends. The emotional and financial burden is immense, and it can take a long time for affected persons to recover from their loss. Motorcycle accident deaths also have a significant impact on society. Apart from the emotional pain suffered by victims’ families, these fatalities also result in economic losses due to decreased productivity, medical expenses, and other costs. All these can add to the country’s millions of dollars in losses.

Preventing Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

The importance of motorcycle safety cannot be overstated, as it can mean the difference between life and death for riders on two-wheeled vehicles. In this light, the Federal Highway Administration has recommended strategies on how motorcycle riders can stay safe on the road, and these include the following:

  1. Take rider education and safety classes.
  2. Wear protective gear, such as helmets that meet the Department of Transportation’s standards, which can help reduce the severity of a head injury in a crash.
  3. Always make yourself visible to other drivers by wearing bright, reflective clothing.
  4. Drive defensively and obey traffic laws at all times.
  5. Monitor speed, give proper signals, and watch out for other vehicles.
  6. Avoid distractions such as using cell phones or listening to loud music while riding.
  7. Take regular breaks to rest when feeling fatigued.
  8. Be aware of other drivers on the road at all times.
  9. Avoid riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  10. Keep your motorcycle in good working condition by regularly inspecting it for potential problems.

Preventing Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

By following these tips, riders can significantly reduce their chances of getting involved in a fatal motorcycle crash. Additionally, other motorists should be mindful of their surroundings and aware that motorcycle riders may be on the road at any given time. Always drive carefully and allow motorcyclists ample space when sharing the same lane.

Also, authorities should continue implementing strict regulations and laws concerning speed limits and other traffic rules for motorcyclists. This would be instrumental in preventing fatal accidents and motorcyclist deaths on the roads.

The Importance of Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Amid all the precautionary measures, motorcyclists may still be involved in an accident due to the recklessness of other drivers. In such a case, you can seek the assistance of experienced motorcycle accident lawyers from the law firm of Jared Spingarn in Florida. Jared specializes in handling cases related to bike crashes and fatalities. His team can help you understand the legal process and guide you in pursuing a motorcycle accident claim.


In conclusion, what percentage of motorcycle accidents are fatal? The data is clear – motorcycle accidents can be deadly. They can account for high percentages of fatalities, but with the proper safety measures, riders can minimize their risk of being involved in a fatal crash. By remaining vigilant and riding safely, motorcycle riders can reduce their chances of becoming a statistic in a fatal motorcycle accident. In addition, surviving family members should not hesitate to seek legal help. Do not let the loss of a loved one go uncompensated, and seek the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers from Jared Spingarn’s law offices in Florida today.

>> If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident in Florida, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jared Spingarn, Accident Attorney, at 1-954-781-2316 for a Free Case Review or drop a message on their Contact Us page.