Motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to die and four times more likely to be injured in an Accident in Texas

Motorcycle riders

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There were 8,636 motorcycle accidents in Texas in 2023. 7790 of those accidents were non-fatal crashes with injuries. 702 motorcycle accidents in Texas in 2023 resulted in deaths. 

Motorcycle riders have far less protection in a crash in Texas;, which has contributed to a significantly higher risk of fatalities and injuries. 

Motorcyclists face 28 times the chance of dying in a fatal accident compared with those in passenger cars. They also face four times the injury risk.

83,000 Motorcyclists Were Injured in 2021 in the USA

In 2021, a total of 83,000 motorcycle riders sustained injuries. A total of 468 injuries occurred per 100 million vehicle miles traveled over the course of that year.

More Than a Third of Motorcycle Accidents Involve Unlicensed Drivers

Motorcycle accidents often involve untrained drivers. An estimated 36% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve riders who do not have a valid license to drive a motorcycle.

While state requirements vary with regard to licensure, all states do require a motorcycle endorsement as a supplement to a standard driver’s license.  Motorcyclists are usually required to pass both written tests and driving tests on a motorcycle to earn this endorsement.

August Is the Most Dangerous Month for Motorcyclists in the USA

Motorcycle accident statistics show the risk of a crash is not uniform year-round. In fact, August is the most dangerous month for motorcyclists, with 12% of all fatal motorcycle crashes occurring over this month. By contrast, just 3% of fatal motorcycle crashes happened in January–the safest month.2

Better weather in the summer is likely to explain why these months present the highest risk of a deadly accident.

Few Motorcyclists Are Hurt in the Rain

Rainy weather is a deterrent for riding a motorcycle, which helps to explain why so few motorcycle collisions occur during precipitation. Less than 2% of motorcycle accidents happen when it is raining outside. 

Motorcycle Fatality Statistics

There Were 5,932 Motorcyclists Killed in 2021 in the USA
2021 was a bad year for motorcycle riders. A total of 5,932 were killed in fatal traffic accidents.3 This was the highest number of motorcycle accident deaths since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was first started in 1975.1

Motorcycle Accidents Accounted for 14% of All Traffic Deaths in the USA

Motorcycle riders account for 14% of all traffic facilities despite the fact only 3% of all registered vehicles are motorcycles. Motorcycle crashes also account for 17% of all occupant fatalities and 3% of all injuries to vehicle occupants.3

2,251 Motorcycle Accident Deaths Occurred When Not Wearing a Helmet

Failure to wear a helmet is one of the biggest risk factors for motorcycle riders. In fact, 2,251 motorcycle accident fatalities occurred when riders were not helmeted.3 Helmets can help to protect against head injuries, which have a high fatality rate.

34% of Motorcycle Fatalities Involve Speeding

Driving too fast is another risk factor. More than a third of fatal motorcycle accidents (34%) involve a motorist traveling at excess speed.2 Driving too fast increases the risk of a collision due to increased stopping distance and decreased control. It also increases the risk that a crash that does occur will be fatal because crash energy and forces increase as speed increases.4

27% of Motorcycle Accident Deaths Involved Alcohol

Drink driving is a well-known risk factor for all types of accidents, including motorcycle collisions. More than a quarter of deadly motorcycle accidents (27%) were alcohol-involved crashes. This includes single-vehicle accidents, which account for 41% of alcohol-impaired motorcycle crashes and which resulted in 880 motorcyclist deaths in 2020. By contrast, just 18% of alcohol-impaired motorcyclist crashes were multi-vehicle accidents, although these accounted for 556 deaths of motorcycle riders during the same year.4

Alcohol-Impaired Motorcycle Crashes Increase at Night

Drunk driving increases during the evening hours, making this an especially dangerous time for motorcycle accidents. Forty percent of alcohol-impaired motorcycle crash deaths occur during the evening hours. Motorcycle accidents are three times as likely to involve an impaired driver during the nighttime compared with during the day.4

On the Weekend, the Most Common Time of Day When Motorcycle Fatalities Occur Is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For motorcyclists, weekend evenings are a dangerous time on the road. A total of 24% of fatal motorcycle accidents happen between 6 and 9 p.m., with 676 deaths occurring during just this time period alone.2

During the Week, the Most Common Time of Day When Motorcycle Fatalities Occur Is 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Crashes happen earlier on weekdays, perhaps because more motorcycle riders are on the roads earlier during commuting hours during the workweek. A total of 26% of motorcycle fatalities occurred between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. During this period, a total of 1,263 deaths occurred.2

There Were 30,263 More Car Accidents Than Motorcycle Accidents in 2020

Although motorcycle crashes are more dangerous than car accidents, there are fewer of them. In fact, there were 30,263 more auto accidents in 2020 than motorcycle accidents during the same year. Of course, this doesn’t mean drivers of cars are more likely to be involved in a crash. There are significantly more car accidents than motorcycle accidents simply because there are many more cars than motorcycles on the road.5

76% of Motorcycle Accidents Are Collisions From the Front

When motorcycle accidents happen, they usually involve a motorcyclist being hit from the front rather than rear-ended. Just 7% of two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle occurred when the motorcyclist was struck from behind. More than two-thirds (76%) were head-on collisions.4

Motorcycle Helmet Use Statistics

65% Who Ride on a Motorcycle Wear DOT-Compliant Helmets

Helmets significantly reduce the risk of a fatal motorcycle accident, especially when those helmets are in compliance with Department of Transportation requirements. That’s why it’s good news that the majority of people who ride motorcycles wear them. This includes 67% of riders and 52% of passengers.6

6% Wear a Non-Compliant Helmet While Riding a Motorcycle

DOT-compliant headlines are designed to maximize the protection a motorcyclist receives in a collision. But any helmet is better than no helmet, even if it is not in full compliance with Department of Transportation regulations. A total of 6% of motorcycle riders and 4% of passengers wear non-compliant helmets, but they remain safer than those who wear no helmet at all.6

Helmets Are 37% Effective in Preventing Fatalities for Motorcyclists

Although helmets do not prevent every motorcycle accident death, they are fairly effective at reducing the likelihood of fatalities. For every 100 motorcycle riders who lost their lives in accidents, 37 could have been saved if they had a helmet on at the time of the incident.6

18 States Require Motorcyclists to Wear Helmets

Although motorcycle helmets save lives, only a small number of states require all riders to wear them. The locations with a broad mandate for helmet use include the following7:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Three States Have No Motorcycle Helmet Requirements

While some states require motorcycle helmets for all riders, three states do not ever mandate helmet use.6 These locations are the following:

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire

29 States Require Helmet Use Under a Certain Age

The majority of states have helmet laws that fall in the middle in terms of strictness. A total of 29 locations throughout the U.S. require helmets for motorcyclists under a certain age. The specific requirements vary by state, with some mandating helmet use for riders under ages 17, 18, 21 or 25.7

Here are the rules by state for when helmets are mandatory.8

  • 17 and under: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • 18 and under: Delaware,
  • 20 and under: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah,
  • 25 and under: Missouri

States Without Motorcycle Helmet Laws Have Higher Fatality Rates

Since helmets prevent motorcycle deaths, it should not come as a surprise that locations without mandates requiring helmet use have higher fatality rates.

In fact, 57% of motorcycle riders who lose their lives in states with no helmet laws were not wearing head protection at the time of the incident. By contrast, in states where helmet laws are mandated, just 11% of motorcyclists who lost their lives in accidents were not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.6

Motorcycle Accidents by State

The State With the Most Motorcycle Accidents Is New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the most dangerous state for motorcycle riders. A quarter of all deadly accidents in the state involve motorcyclists.8

The State With the Least Motorcycle Accidents Is Alaska

Alaska is the least deadly location for motorcyclists. Just 6% of deadly accidents in Alaska involve motorcycle riders. The fatality rate may be especially low in Alaska as the climate of the state is not conducive to motorcycle riding due to very cold temperatures.6

Motorcycle Fatalities by State

Source: NHTSA

MISSING: summary MISSING: current-rows.
StateTotal Motorcycle Accidents in 2020Motorcycle Accidents as Percent of Total Auto-related fatalities
Dist of Columbia719%
StateTotal Motorcycle Accidents in 2020Motorcycle Accidents as Percent of Total Auto-related fatalities
StateTotal Motorcycle Accidents in 2020Motorcycle Accidents as Percent of Total Auto-related fatalities
New Hampshire2524%
New Jersey7813%
New Mexico4612%
New York20019%
North Carolina19213%
North Dakota1717%
Rhode Island1319%
South Carolina13713%
South Dakota2719%
StateTotal Motorcycle Accidents in 2020Motorcycle Accidents as Percent of Total Auto-related fatalities
West Virginia3814%

Motorcycle Accidents by Location

35% of Motorcycle Fatalities Happen at an Intersection

Some locations are deadlier than others for motorcycle riders. More than one-third (35%) of motorcycle accident deaths occur at intersections.4

Intersections can be dangerous due to many vehicles coming together. Because of their small size, motorcyclists may not be as visible to drivers who could turn into their path. Drivers may also underestimate how fast a motorcyclist is approaching.

67.42% of Motorcycle Fatalities Happen in Urban Areas

Urban areas are more dangerous for motorcyclists compared with suburban or rural locations. Almost seven in 10 motorcycle accident deaths occur in urban areas, while just 32.58% happen on rural roads. Higher traffic and more condensed streets explain why motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur in urban areas compared with suburban or rural locations where there are fewer people on roads and wider, more open spaces.4

Most Motorcycle Fatalities Happen on Non-Interstate Roads

Interstates are the safest place for motorcycle riders, as just 8% of motorcycle accidents occur on these roads.4

Motorcycle Accidents by Demographic

25 to 29-Year-Olds Are Most Likely to Die in a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accident deaths predominantly occur among young people. The majority of motorcyclists who lost their lives in fatal crashes were between the ages of 25 to 29. In total, 706 people within this demographic group lost their lives in 2020.4 This is more than any other group. These young drivers have less experience and are more likely to take risks, both of which explain their higher rates of death while riding.

Motorcycle Fatalities Over Time by Age

Source: NHTSA

MISSING: summary MISSING: current-rows.

Men Account for 92% of Motorcycle Deaths

Men are significantly more likely to lose their lives in a motorcycle accident. In fact, while 5,112 men died in motorcycle accidents in 2020, just 460 females lost their lives during that same year. Females made up just 8% of deadly motorcycle accident victims.2

99% of Male Motorcycle Deaths Are the Driver

When men die in a motorcycle accident, they most likely are the ones operating the motorcycle at the time of the collision. Of the men who died while riding in 2020, 5,084 were driving the motorcycle at the time of the incident. Just 26 were passengers at the time of the fatal crash. These male passengers account for only 1% of all male motorcycle deaths.2

61% of Female Motorcycle Deaths Are Passengers

While men who die in motorcycle accidents were more likely to be driving at the time, the opposite is true for women. Only 39% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involving females occurred when the woman was driving. These accidents accounted for 178 deaths in 2020, while 282 women who died on a motorcycle were passengers at the time of the incident.2

Motorcycle Accidents Over Time

Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Have increased 20% Over the Last Decade

The roads have become substantially more dangerous for motorcycle riders in recent years. In 2011, just 4,630 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred compared to 5,579 in 2020.4 Many factors, including an increase in distracted driving prompted by smartphones as well as an increase in the size of passenger vehicles, help to explain why motorcyclists face a greater danger.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries Have Increased by 1% Over the Last Decade

Although there has been a dramatic increase in fatalities in motorcycle accidents, there has not been a corresponding increase in motorcycle accident injuries. In 2011, 81,706 motorcyclists were hurt in collisions compared with 82,528 injured victims in 2020. This reflects just a 1% rise in the number of injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes over the past decade.4

Motorcycle Helmet Use Has Decreased by 4% Since 2000

A decline in motorcycle helmet use can also help to explain why fatalities have increased in recent decades. While 71% of riders wore a helmet while on their motorcycle in 2000, this number was down to just 67% in 2022.9Whether a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet or not, they have legal rights if someone causes a crash that harms them. A motorcycle accident lawsuit enables collision victims to pursue a case for compensation and recover monetary damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other economic and non-financial losses.

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