Motorcycle vs. Car Accident Statistics

It likely doesn’t come as a shock for most people to assume motorcycles are naturally far more dangerous than most vehicles. When looking at the statistics of motorcycle crashes and crash-related fatalities, it is alarming to see just how many involve motorcycle accidents. Today, there are approximately nine million registered motorcycles on US roads, accounting for just 3% of all registered vehicles in the country.

Motorcycle vs. Car Accident Statistics: An Overview

In this day and age, vehicle manufacturers are constantly developing safety features to reduce road accident-related fatalities worldwide. While these technological advancements are slowly reducing the number of accidents, careless human nature must also be held accountable. 

Here are some statistics to show the difference between motorcycle accidents and car accidents:

Motorcycle Accidents

  • The chances of a fatality in a motorcycle accident are approximately 30 times higher than in a car.
  • Motorcycle accidents have a staggering 80% injury or death rate, while car accidents remain around 20%.
  • Motorcycle riders over 40 are around 20 times more likely to be injured in the case of an accident than car drivers of the same age.
  • Even though motorcycles result in just 3% of all registered vehicles, they are accountable for over 5% of highway-related fatalities.

Car Accidents

  • According to the U.S Department of Transportation, the average driver will experience some sort of vehicle-related accident every six years, with close calls happening as frequently as twice a month.
  • Statistics imply that there are over 2 million disabling injuries caused by vehicle accidents every year.
  • The National Safety Council estimates over 12 million vehicle accidents involving over 20 million vehicles take place in the US annually.
  • A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Administration concluded that about 6% of vehicle occupants suffer severe or fatal injuries.

Most Common Causes

Even though the difference in design and functionality between cars and motorcycles are significant, the leading causes of catastrophic accidents for both vehicles remain relatively the same. Unfortunately, most fatalities or major accidents are not a result of faulty machinery or improper safety features. The leading cause remains to be human carelessness and irresponsibility.

The same happens with truck accidents where the human factor is the main reason for catastrophic accidents. In case you are a truck driver and are involved in an accident, it's highly recommended to immediately get in touch with a truck accident lawyer who could help you protect your rights.

Here are some of the root causes for vehicle accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • It’s estimated that almost 30 people die every day as a result of drunk driving accidents - meaning that a person is lost every 50 minutes.
  • Almost 10,000 people lost their lives in 2018 as a result of speeding. In 2017, 49% of drivers fatally injured in speeding accidents were not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Almost 3,000 fatalities were reported in 2018 as a result of distracted driving.

It is a rude but eye-opening list of statistics, proving that in order to maintain safer roads for motorcyclists and other drivers alike, we need to be more socially responsible as a community. These acts endanger the lives of other innocent drivers and bystanders, as well.

Fatality Rates

Information produced by the Insurance Information Institute shows that the occupant fatality rate was 10.5 for every 100,000 registered cars and 59.34 for every 100,000 registered motorcycles. Based on these figures, the risk of a fatal crash was almost six times higher among motorcycle riders.

The most alarming difference is notable when comparing the fatality in proportion to the miles traveled. The III estimates that the fatality rate for motorcycles is 25.67 for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is frankly shocking compared to the mere 0.67 on passenger cars.

Leading Causes Of Car Accidents

Car accidents are generally divided into two categories: 

  • Driver error is a result of preventable circumstances such as drunk driving and speeding.
  • Other causes include primarily unpredictable circumstances, such as mechanical malfunctions or adverse weather conditions.

To summarize the leading causes of car accidents, we will look at regularly gathered information by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of passenger vehicles, including cars, vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs. Their statistics show the following:

61 percent of 36,560 motor vehicle fatalities that happened in 2018 were people in passenger vehicles. Out of the fatalities linked to passenger vehicles, 39% occurred in single-vehicle crashes, while 61% were from multiple vehicle collisions.

By age, 23% of occupants in passenger vehicles who died in 2018 were under twenty-five.

A little over six and a half thousand lives were lost as a result of rollover crashes.

Leading Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents

We mentioned that riding under the influence and speeding were some of the main reasons for motorcycle-related death. These are some of the most common types of accidents according to the legal experts at NOLO:

  • Low visibility - We have seen it a hundred times on footage captured by GoPro’s on rider’s helmets and dash cams. Motorcycles are far less noticeable, and most accidents you will see result from cars abruptly turning and hitting motorcycle riders.
  • Lane splitting is another culprit that leads to motorcycle accidents. It is not uncommon to see a motorcycle zipping down the middle of a lane, especially during traffic. While it isn’t illegal in every state, it increases the risk of an accident.
  • Collisions with fixed objects on the road - While it may sound unlikely, it happens pretty often. Studies suggest that up to 25% of motorcycle crash fatalities occur due to striking fixed objects, and 18% of car drivers also suffer this same fate.


As you can see, motorcycles can be considered a more dangerous form of transportation than other vehicles, and the chances of death or serious injury are increased with use. However, with proper rider training, the correct safety gear, and obeying the road laws, it is still possible to enjoy riding motorcycles without putting your life at undue risk.