A Transportation Favorite

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Motorcycling can be both a thrilling pastime that takes people all over the country as well as an exciting way to conduct basic travel. Every year millions of people around the world embark on unforgettable journeys on these open-air vehicles. For many there’s just something special about highway travel by motorbike, for instance. 

Special Skill Required

At the same time, learning how to properly operate a motorcycle takes a level of time and effort that not everyone will be willing to put in. A motorcycle is by no means a car, and the skills required to drive one cannot be expected to allow anyone to drive the other. Nevertheless there are many inexperienced and under-trained motorcyclists on the road, which can make things dangerous for everyone on the road around them.

Dangerous Driving

Since there are some unskilled motorcyclists–and drivers in general– on the road in North America, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with using motorcycles. So below is a list of statistics that help give a picture of how common as well as how dangerous motorcycle accidents are. The following data is from this IIHS webpage.

The Stats

If you want to know what kind of risk you’re accepting when you hop on your bike, then you’ll need to have a better idea of the recent motorcycle accident statistics:

  • In 2019 deaths from motorcycle crashes in the United States constituted 14 percent of the total number of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. That is an increase of seven percent since 1990, which is a significant rise in proportion.
  • The rate of unlicensed motorcyclists who died during motorcycle crashes in 2019 in the U.S was higher than the rate of unlicensed automobile drivers. Which is to say there’s probably a higher proportion of unskilled motorcyclists out there than car drivers.

  • In 2019, motorcyclist fatalities caused by single-vehicle crashes made up 39 percent of fatalities, while 61 percent of the deaths can be accounted for by multi-vehicle crashes. That difference suggests busy roads are more dangerous to motorcyclists.

  • It appears that younger people have started avoiding motorcycle related deaths at a higher rate than previous generations of them did. For instance in 2019 the proportion of motorcycle accident fatalities on American roads for people under 30 was just 27 percent. This is a significant decrease in young people dying from motorcycle accidents. In 1975 they constituted 80 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities in America.

  • Now it is older individuals who constitute the majority of people dying from motorcycle accidents. In the late 70’s, motorcyclists who were 50 and above constituted 3 percent of rider fatalities. In 1997 this figure was 14 percent, and in 2019 it was 37 percent.

Knowledge and Skill

Using a motorcycle can bring great joy to anyone’s life and routine, whether they depend on one to get to work or as a method of wider travel and escape. But in addition to having the skills necessary to drive one, it is important to know the risks associated with the type of vehicle. And judging by the above list it is important to remind older motorcyclists that experience doesn’t guarantee safety on the road.

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