Motorcycle Accidents Are on the Rise, Many Are Avoidable

Well, it turns out that my mom was right: motorcycle riding is dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released a new publication about motorcycle-related crashes and it’s chock full of data that will have you double checking your chin strap every time you get on the bike. 

The silver lining is that common sense goes a long way for extending your riding career and avoiding fatal crashes. Of course, all the smarts in the world won’t stop other vehicles from running into you, but when you look at the numbers, it turns out that simply wearing a helmet and not riding under the influence goes a long way. 


Photo by Benjamin Hassel on UnsplashPhoto by Benjamin Hassel on Unsplash

Photo by Benjamin Hassel on Unsplash

Nothing will make you more aware of how distracted drivers are these days than when you’re riding your motorcycle, so it comes as no surprise that the majority (55%) of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2019 involved collisions with other motor vehicles. In an aggregate of studies about motorcycle accidents published by HG.org, a legal resources website, says that “The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.” 

The NHTSA doesn’t go into detail about why the collisions happened in the first place. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the drivers in those accidents had something else going on besides keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road… scrolling their social media, perhaps?


That guy was definitely checking his Facebook. Photo by Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash.That guy was definitely checking his Facebook. Photo by Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash.

That guy was definitely checking his Facebook. Photo by Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash.

Of course motorcyclists are not totally blameless when it comes to accidents. 23% of fatal crashes involved riders colliding with a fixed object and 42% of motorcycle riders who died in those crashes in 2019 were alcohol-impaired. 

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For those of us in the adventure riding community, it seems almost unthinkable to go for a ride without a helmet, but not everyone on two wheels feels the same. “Helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 749 lives could have been saved,” the NHTSA report says. “Helmets are estimated to be 37-percent effective in preventing fatalities to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for motorcycle passengers. In other words, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing helmets, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets.”


Here’s a moment of zen to calm your mind after all those scary stats. Photo by Raghul M on Unsplash.Here’s a moment of zen to calm your mind after all those scary stats. Photo by Raghul M on Unsplash.

Here’s a moment of zen to calm your mind after all those scary stats. Photo by Raghul M on Unsplash.

Despite all that, please don’t let any of these scary statistics stop you from going for a ride. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, after all. Calculated risks and pushing comfort zones is what makes us come alive. Just remember to wear your helmet and, if you’re venturing to the bar, please just take a cab. 

Wishing you a million miles of safe, amazing riding!


Motorcycle Industry News by Eva Rupert. Follow Eva @augusteva.

Photo by Brett Willhelm

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