Classifications of Motorcycle Fatalities and Injuries
Over the past few years, motorcycle riding has become increasingly popular. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimated the percentage of U.S. households that has at least one motorcycle has risen to 6.8% in 2008, increasing from 5.4% in 2003. The Federal Highway Administration has also gathered from their most recent data that there were approximately 8 million motorcycles on the road in 2009, compared to 134.9 million passenger vehicles.
With the heightened popularity comes heightened risks of injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcycle collisions. The Insurance Information Institute posted this article to bring awareness to motorcycle drivers as well as the motor vehicle drivers that share the road with them.
By their nature, motorcycles are far less crashworthy than closed vehicles because: -they are are less visible by other motorists and pedestrians/bicyclists. -they are less stable than four-wheel vehicles. -in order to operate a motorcycle, one must use a different combination of physical and mental skills than what is necessary to operate a four-wheel vehicle. -unlike closed vehicles, the drivers and passengers of a motorcycle are vulnerable to hazardous weather and road conditions.
With the information above, motorcycle drivers are already at more of a disadvantage than motor vehicle drivers. In 2009, 58 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles were involved in a fatal accident. In comparison, we saw only 13 out of every 100,000 passenger car fatal accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2010 saw 4,502 fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents, as well as 82,000 injuries. The fatality rate is up 0.7% from 2009 and the injury rate is down 8.9%. 2009 saw a total of 106,000 motorcycle crashes, which accounted for 13% of motorcyclist fatalities. In fact, the fatality rate per registered vehicle for motorcycles in 2009 was 6 times higher than the fatality rate for passenger vehicles.
When broken down by age, speeding and motorcycle type, further classification is as follows:
AGE According to the NHTSA's data from 2009, motorcyclists aged 40 years or older accounted for 54% of motorcycle fatalities. On the other hand, those aged 30 years or younger accounted for only 27%. For the 30-39 year old age group, we find the remaining 19%. Compared to data from 2000, these numbers have changed a bit: 41% reflected the 40 years and older group, 35% for the 30 years and younger and 24% for those aged in between.
ALCOHOLUSE Also taken from the NHTSA's 2009 data, 29% of motorcycle riders that were involved in fatal accidents were reported as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. An additional 7% had lower BAC levels (0.01%-0.07%). Of the 1,903 motorcycle riders that were fatally injured in 2009, 42% of them with a BAC of 0.08% or higher died in a single-vehicle crash (crashing into a stationary object). Helmet use was also documented as being less likely with motorcycle riders with a BAC at or above 0.08%. Of those killed in traffic crashes, 42% of riders were not wearing a helmet, compared to the 65% who did not have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system.
SPEEDING According to the NHTSA, 2009 saw 35% of all motorcycle riders that were killed in crashes were speeding.
LICENSING Of those who were involved in a fatal motorcycle crash, roughly 22%, or one out of every 4 motorcycle riders were riding without a valid license in 2009. MOTORCYCLE TYPE Supersport motorcycles have the highest driver death rates per 10,000 registered vehicles with 22.5, which is 4 times more than any other type of motorcycle. This compares to 10.7 for sport models, 6.5 for touring models and 5.7 for standards and cruisers.