Motorcycle accidents differ from car accidents in significant ways. Motorcycle accidents cause more injuries and deaths than car accidents. Unfortunately, the injuries that they cause also tend to be more serious.
In this short guide, we’ll take a look at the statistics for motorcycle accidents vs. car accidents.
What Are the Differences Between Motorcycle Accidents and Car Accidents?
Many of the differences between motorcycle accidents and car accidents come from the differences between motorcycles and cars. These differences affect the likelihood of a motorcycle accident, the circumstances that can cause a motorcycle accident, and the injuries that result.
Risks of Accidents
Motorcyclists have a greater likelihood of getting into an accident than motorists. The U.S. has about 8.6 million registered motorcycles. These motorcycles travel about 19.7 billion miles each year. Motorcyclists get into about 110,000 accidents every year.
For comparison, the U.S. has 268 million registered passenger vehicles. Vehicle owners drive about 3.2 trillion miles per year. These vehicles get into about 6 million accidents every year.
This means that motorcycles get into about 5.6 accidents per million miles traveled. By contrast, passenger vehicles have about 1.88 accidents per million miles traveled. This makes motorcycles three times more likely to get into an accident than cars.
Causes of Accidents
More than half of all motorcycle accidents result from a vehicle driver hitting a motorcyclist. In other words, the fault for slightly more than half of the collisions between cars and motorcycles rests with the driver, not the motorcycle rider.
- 42% of these accidents result from vehicles turning left into a motorcycle or a motorcycle’s path
- 41% of the accidents result from drivers failing to see motorcycles in their blind spots during lane changes
- 43% of accidents involved motorcyclists impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Speeding played a role in 33% of motorcycle accidents
In comparison, car accidents have much more diverse causes. Distracted driving is the most common cause of car accidents, causing about 16%. About 10% of car accidents involved drugs or alcohol. Finally, speeding played a role in only 2% of car accidents.
Motorcyclists lack the protection that motorists have. Even when they wear helmets, motorcyclists have nothing – like a crash bar – to help protect their sides. They also lack a roof to prevent ejection from their motorcycles and onto the road.
Motorcycles usually weigh around 700 pounds, although heavier road bikes can weigh up to 900 pounds. In contrast, passenger cars usually weigh about 2,000 pounds, while SUVs can weigh up to 6,000 pounds.
In an accident, weight matters. The momentum and energy transferred in an accident depend on the speed and weight of the vehicles involved.
When a vehicle hits a motorcycle, the vehicle will have two to six times more energy and momentum when compared to a motorcycle traveling at the same speed. As a result, the motorcycle and motorcyclist will experience the bulk of the damage.
If you have a motorcycle accident, you will probably suffer an injury. Of the 110,000 motorcycle accidents that take place in an average year, 89,000 cause injuries. This means 81% of motorcycle accidents result in an injury. Of the 6 million car accidents that occur every year, about 50% cause injuries.
According to the insurance industry, this means that motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in a crash than vehicle drivers. When motorcyclists get injured, they suffer more severe injuries. In fact, about 6.6% of motorcycle accident victims suffer head injuries.
Injury Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
One similarity between motorcycle accidents and car accidents is the availability of injury compensation. You can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses if you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence. This compensation should cover your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.