Although motorcycle accidents that result in injuries are a common phenomenon, various studies have provided data showing where most motorcycle accidents do happen. Overall, most motorcycle accidents occur in urban areas, on non-interstate roads, and at locations other than intersections. Furthermore, more motorcycle accidents tend to occur in states with warmer climates and longer riding seasons.
Motorcycle Accidents Occur More Frequently in Some Locations
Urban vs. Rural Locations
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, 60% of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in urban areas, and 40% of motorcycle crashes occurred in rural areas. Various factors could contribute to the increased rate of crashes in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. For instance, urban areas often have significantly more traffic than rural areas, which can increase the rate of motorcycle crashes. Urban areas also may contain more pedestrians and bicyclists, which could cause motorcyclists to abruptly brake or swerve to avoid them. Road conditions, such as potholes, construction, and debris, also may be more prevalent on urban streets, leading to more accidents. Emergency vehicles also tend to be more common, which can lead to increased accidents. Most of the fatal motorcycle accidents, whether in an urban or rural area, occurred on major, non-interstate roads.
Intersections vs. Non-Intersections
The NHTSA also reported that only 35% of the crashes happened at intersections. The majority of motorcycle crashes occurred on parts of roadways other than intersections. One factor that contributes to these statistics may be speed. At intersections, motorcycles are far more likely to be traveling at slower speeds, stopping, or starting. In contrast, stretches of roads with no intersections result in higher speeds on average and no reason to slow down or stop.
Another study of 2018 motorcycle crashes by NHTSA showed that the majority of accidents involving fatalities and injuries or over 41,000 accidents were front crashes. These accidents primarily involved hitting other vehicles head-on or hitting stationary objects head-on, which is more likely to occur on stretches of roads other than intersections. Another roughly 25,000 motorcycle accidents did not involve collisions at all, thus leading to the conclusion that they more likely occurred in areas other than intersections.
Interstate Roads v. Non-Interstate Roads
The same NHTSA data revealed that 91% of fatal motorcycle crashes happened on non-interstate roads. As many motorcyclists ride to enjoy the landscape, at least in part, rather than out of the need to get to their intended locations quickly, they may be more likely to frequent non-interstate roads. Traditionally, interstate highways are for commuters and travelers to get from point A to point B as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Motorcyclists often ride for pleasure rather than for business, which could lead them to choose roads other than interstates.
Geographical Locations of Motorcycle Crashes
A recent QuoteWizard study compared 2017 motorcycle fatality data from the NHTSA with motorcycle registration data from the Federal Highway Administration to determine which states had the highest rates of motorcycle accidents. Unsurprisingly, more fatal motorcycle accidents tended to occur in states with warmer climates and longer riding seasons. Due to their temperate climates, these states tend to have more motorcyclists overall, whether they are tourists or residents of those states.
At least eight of the ten states in which the most motorcycle fatalities occurred are traditionally southern or somewhat southern states. Topping the list are Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Arizona. Mississippi had the highest rate of fatalities, at 14.22 fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles. Arizona, however, had a substantially lower rate of 9.94 fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles.
Rounding out the top ten list is North Carolina, New Mexico, Kentucky, Missouri, and Louisiana. Not surprisingly, other southern states, such as Tennessee, Nevada, Alabama, and Georgia, also fell within the top 20 on this list. This list illustrates that most motorcycle accidents do happen where the climate is warmer for a more significant part of the year. Nonetheless, fatalities unquestionably occur more commonly in warmer months and taper off during winter months, even in southern states with warmer climates.
Motorcycle Accidents and National Statistics
The NHTSA publishes annual national statistics about motor vehicle crashes, including motorcycle accidents. In 2018, the year for which the most recent statistics are available, just under 5,000 individuals lost their lives in motorcycle accidents. That same year, another 82,000 individuals suffered injuries in motorcycle-related crashes. Although these figures have decreased over the five years prior to 2018, the numbers are still significant.
Many motorcycle accidents lead to severe injuries for individuals. When the negligence of other parties causes these accidents, the injury victims may have legal recourse in the form of personal injury actions. In the case of fatal motorcycle accidents, surviving family members of the victims may have wrongful death actions against the negligent parties.
Although motorcycle accidents do occur in some places more commonly than others, other factors regularly impact the rate of motorcycle accidents involving fatalities and injuries. For example, accidents tend to decrease in years in which some states see particularly harsh winters. In those states, the riding season is shorter for those years, and therefore, fewer accidents occur. Similarly, in states with strict helmet laws, accidents with fatalities may decrease, and accidents with injuries may increase. This is the case simply because many studies show that mandatory helmet laws decrease the risk of fatalities in motorcycle accidents.
Get the Answers to Your Questions About Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and deaths that can turn your world upside down. As you try to cope with physical pain, emotional trauma, and loss, you may need advice about your potential legal options. Getting the answers to your questions may allow you to make the decisions about your claim that are right for you and your family.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC handles motorcycle accident claims with no payment of fees upfront. It costs you nothing for us to start handling your claim, so call our office today at (800) 924-3113 to learn more about how to get started. You pay nothing until you receive an award for your claim from the parties responsible for your injuries.