Who Is Most Likely to Die in a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorbike Accident on the road with a car

Motorcycle riding can be an exhilarating means of travel – and is one that has grown in popularity across the nation. However, operating a motorcycle is not without risks since bikers are so vulnerable to life-threatening injury in the event of a crash. State highway traffic data indicates that nearly 5,000 Americans were killed on motorcycles in 2015 – a staggering 10 percent increase compared with the previous year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are on average 27 times more likely than car occupants to die in an accident, and almost five times more likely to suffer grave injuries.

We already know that excessive speed, negligent rider behavior and lack of protective gear all contribute to the risk of being harmed in a motorcycle crash, but given the rising number of deaths, it’s important to look at research that highlights key factors that increase motorcycle accident (and death) risk.

Factors that Increase Motorcycle Fatality Risks

Recent data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) underscores some of the dangers facing motorcyclists today. The following are some of the biggest risk factors:

  • Older riders – motorcyclists who are over the age of 40 are more susceptible to being killed in an accident. In 2015, 54 percent of motorcycle fatalities were people aged 40 or over.
  • Male riders – 91 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 were males.
  • Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets – Failing to wear a safety helmet can increase fatality risk by as much as 30 percent. Louisiana helmet laws mandate that all motorcyclists and passengers –regardless of age – wear DOT-approved safety helmets with chin straps.
  • Aggressive riding behavior – According to research by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, aggressive behavior including speeding or passing on the right is linked to an 18-fold increased risk in crash. 35 percent of deadly crashes involve a speeding motorcyclist.
  • Motorcyclists whose engines are larger – In 2015, 31 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involved bikes with engine sizes larger than 1,400 cc.
  • Motorcyclists impaired by alcohol or drugs – In 2015, 27 percent of motorcycle riders who died in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. Statistically, bikers between the ages of 35 to 39 were more likely to be fatally injured because of alcohol use.
  • Inexperienced motorcyclists without training/skill – The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports that lack of knowledge and skill of motorcycle riding is tied to a 9-fold increased accident risk.
  • Operating a motorcycle without a valid driver’s license – In 2015, an estimated 27 percent of motorcycle deaths occurred in bikers who did not have a valid driver’s license.
  • Motorcycle type – In 2015, the majority of motorcycle accident deaths involved cruising/ standard bikes and touring motorcycles.
  • City dwellers – 49 percent of motorcycle accident deaths occur in urban areas, and more than half of all fatalities occur on major roads, versus freeways and interstates.

Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to seek legal counsel who can establish liability and pursue compensation for your damages and injuries. Damages recovered in a personal injury claim can include those for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damages, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the accident. Bart Bernard is not only a top-rated motorcycle accident attorney in Louisiana who gives each client the attention and respect they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation in Lafayette or Baton Rouge, please call the Personal Injury Bart Bernard Personal Injury Lawyers today.

Additional “Motorcycle Accident Fatality” Resources:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Motorcycles and ATVs http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/motorcycles/fatalityfacts/motorcycles
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Motorcycle Crashes http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes
  3. Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Factors that Increase and Decrease Motorcyclist Crash Risk https://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/msf100_2016/Risk_Factors_From_MSF_100_Study_Paper.pdf
  4. Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA)  Motorcyclist Deaths Surge 10% in 2015 http://www.ghsa.org/resources/new-data-motorcyclist-deaths-surge-10-2015



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