Auto and Road User Journal
May 28, 1997|
(U.S. and Canada)
Fax: (360) 335-6402
TranSafety's free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and highway safety publications catalog. See our free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and a highway safety publications catalog.
Motorcycles Fatality Facts
(This article is reproduced with permission from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.)
Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars, and they have high performance capabilities. For these and other reasons, motorcycles are more likely than cars to be in crashes. Five crash types account for 86 percent of motorcycle crashes: motorcycle runs off road (41 percent), motorcycle or other vehicle runs traffic control (18 percent), head on (11 percent), car turns in front of cycle (8 percent), and motorcycle goes down in roadway (7 percent).
When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they're more likely to be injured or killed. Per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles is about 20 times the number in cars.
Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. In states that require all riders to wear helmets, use approaches 100 percent compared with 50 percent in other states. Yet only about half of the states mandate helmet use by all riders. Death rates from head injuries have been shown to be twice as high among cyclists in states with no helmet laws or laws that apply only to young riders, compared with states where laws apply to all riders. Repealing or weakening helmet laws so they don't apply to all riders has been followed in a number of states by increases in deaths. In contrast, benefits return when helmet laws applying to all riders are reinstated.
Helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. An unhelmeted rider is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury, compared with a helmeted rider.
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatal Accident Reporting System.
Age and Gender
When They Died