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Worldwide Motorcycle Accident Statistics and Causes

It's important to have some numbers to be able to look at trends and understand the main causes of motorcycle accidents and especially motorcycle fatalities.

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle crashes (PDF) shows that in 2009 in the US alone 4,462 motorcyclists got killed and 90,000 got injured. shows a general overview of motorcycle safety and references the major studies about motorcycle safety:

  • Hurt Report (US, 1981) that showed that "two-thirds of motorcycle-car crashes occurred when the car driver failed to see the approaching motorcycle and violated the rider's right-of-way. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of brain injury and death"
  • MAIDS Report (Europe, 2000) showed that "69% of the drivers did not see the motorcycle. In 68.7% of all cases, the helmet was capable of preventing or reducing the head injury sustained by the rider"
  • There is supposed to be a large followup study to the Hurt report underway but it seems be be stalled by a disagreement over how to conduct such a study

Do you have any statistics from your home country to contribute? What are the main causes of motorcycle accidents in your opinion?



Great info Uwe. A very proactive "Yeah I hate that term also" approach to understanding the problem. Ride like they are all out to kill you. Ride Safe and Smart my Bruthas and Sistas. By the way there are many places where I can get motorcycle parts and do dads on the internet...CC is the only one I have found that as a biker I feel I have a connection with the staff as well as your customers as well.  Very unique and well done. Yeah I still get stuff from time to time from others due to availability or just price but 90% goes your way since I want you to succeed. Keep it up brutha and would love to meet up one day.

From what I've seen, I would agree with the Hurt Report. Everyone has their own stories and opinions. I have a friend who tells a story of a "little old lady" pulling out in front of him, after she has seen him coming. He pulls up beside her at the next light and confronts her, "I know you saw me, why did you pull out in front of me like that?" To which she replies, "I thought you bikers had to stop for us driving cars!" There are some who would say, "So what! It's just a biker!" Well, us bikers are human beings also, with family and friends who love us and we love them. Some folks just can't get past that 'Outlaw Biker " stereotype. A lot of us are God fearing, church going people who do a lot for our communitees and the world.

I also have a friend who thinks there should be no such thing as a MANDATORY helmet law. He says that a considerable amount of the fatalities in motorcycle crashes who are wearing helmets, died from suffering a broken neck. I can not back that up statistacly. He says this is the United States of America, where we are supposed to be free. He says the rider should decide. And I can see that point.

All I can say is that I will dress as safly as possible, ride as safly as possible, and make myself as visable as possible. That's about all we can do. Realize that when the Good Lord calls you home, it's your time. You can run but you can't hide. Get yourself prepared for that day. Stop and think about where you will spend eternity.

yeah, unfortunatelly we'll enter political territory when we talk about helmet usage and helmet laws ...

Personally, I've always used a helmet except for a short 6 month stint in Florida. A biker did while waiting at a stop sign, he had slipped and hit his head on a sidewalk. He didn't wear a helmet.  From that moment on I continued wearing helmets, first half helmts, later full face helmets only. One of our employees broke his jaw in a motorcycle accident wearing a "half helmet" and that convinced me to go full face. I was sure glad I wore a helmet in a parking lot accident. I hit my head on the pavement and was unconcious for about 30 seconds. I don't want to imagine what could have happened to my brain without a helmet ...

In response to the "helmets cause broken necks" I would refer to the HURT report findings, saying "Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity." 

Also refer to a section of the NHTSA report, "2008 Traffic Safety Facts":

Helmet Use and Effectiveness:

"NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,829 motorcyclists in 2008. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 823 lives could have been saved. Helmets are estimated to be 37-percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41-percent for motorcycle passengers.This means for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets."

Thanks for sharing all this great information Uwe.  It's amazing how often I turn on the news and hear about another "Brother" being killed by someone who "didn't see him".  We have to do what we can to make ourselves seen and heard.  However, the cagers need to do their part too...and look twice for motorcyclist.  

Thanks again Uwe.  I appreciate all the info.  And I also just wanted to say a quick thank you for creating this amazing community of Brothers and Sisters.  I feel like CCC is my second family...and sometimes my FIRST family!  Smiley-laughing  So...Vielen Dank, und fahren sicher! shows some trends in the recent increase in motorcycle fatalities. Over the 10 year period the number of fatalities doubled and it can't be explained with the number of motorcycles increasing. 

Three factors seem to play a signifiant role: more "older" riders on the road, bigger and more powerful motorcycles and sadly enough, alcohol:

Motorcycle Safety Trends

Blood alcohol limit (BAC) of 0.08 is the legal limit in the US and 2 or more beers usually will get you over that limit. 

It's a bit shocking to me that in my own age group 4 out of 10 riders killed had alcohol involved.
Motorcycle Safety Trends

This is shocking! I am very scared of road accidents after I have been into one. It was long time ago when I was charged for DUI but it was because of a good DUI lawyer of that I was able to get out of it. Didn’t hurt anybody back then but got very scared after that. Such posts actually are truly horrifying.

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