In recent years, you may have heard that motorcycle fatalities have finally begun dropping. For instance, 5,172 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2017, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The year before, the NHTSA reported 5,337 fatal incidents. Though the numbers are very similar, that still means that fatalities happened 3% less often in 2017. Things are trending toward safer roads.
That said, the statistic that really shows what types of dangers motorcyclists face is this one: Motorcycle fatalities happened 27 times as often as fatalities in other passenger vehicles.
Vehicle miles traveled
As you may have guessed, far more people died in cars, trucks and other passenger vehicles than on motorcycles. This is true every single year. Overall fatalities typically come in at about 40,000 per year. With under 6,000 people dying on motorcycles, how can anyone say these fatalities are 27 times as common?
The key lies in vehicle miles traveled. When you use these to shift the results, that’s when the motorcycle statistics take a massive leap. This adjustment more accurately shows the risks because it removes the fact that there are far fewer motorcycles on the roads. Even those who do own them do not drive exclusively, in most cases. They have other vehicles. If you compare how many fatalities happened per miles traveled, you can see that motorcycles are over-represented.
Think of it this way: Imagine that you have 10 motorcycles and 1,000 cars. Two of the cars get into deadly accidents, as does one of the motorcycles. The raw statistics tell us that twice as many people died in the cars — two versus one. However, it’s very clear that the motorcycles are more risky since 10% of all motorcyclists died in an accident, compared to just 0.2% of all drivers in cars.
These statistics reveal another startling truth: You face very high injury risks on a motorcycle, as well. Part of the reason for the high fatality rate is that motorcycles, when compared to cars, just do not offer much in the way of protection. As such, injuries tend to be more severe and are more likely to be deadly. Even those who survive could have head injuries, back injuries, disabilities and other serious issues to contend with. Meanwhile, those in cars that collide with motorcycles may have very minor injuries or none at all.
If you get into a motorcycle crash and get injured, or if a loved one passes away, make sure you know what legal options you have in Ohio. You cannot avoid all accidents, but you can understand your potential rights to compensation to help cover the costs.