Motorcycle Accidents vs. Car Accidents
Despite automotive innovation and advanced technology, tens of thousands of drivers and passengers suffer severe injury or death because of roadway accidents every year.
Accidents involving motorcycles and passenger vehicles can have severe and deadly consequences. Knowing what to do following an accident can help you recover compensation for losses, including medical bills and pain and suffering. Speaking with an experienced Henderson accident attorney can be a good way to explore your options.
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How many people die in motorcycle accidents vs. car accidents?
It’s estimated that just under 43,000 people die every year because of car accidents. Nearly another 6,000 individuals die every year because of motorcycle accidents. Behaviors like drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving remain the leading causes of accidents:
- An estimated 30 people die daily because of drunk driving-related crashes
- In 2021, 33,782 police-reported traffic crashes resulted in death — 31% of those killed were involved in a speed-related accident
- Distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,522 people in 2021
- Traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high in 2021
Many of the same factors that contribute to car crashes also contribute to motorcycle accidents. Because motorcyclists do not have the same protection as an enclosed vehicle, these injuries are more likely to be fatal.
Factors that contribute to car crashes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyzes the factors that enhance danger on the roadways and what drivers can do to help mitigate those dangers:
Age and gender
Age and gender play a significant role in auto accidents and safety with both motorcycles and cars. The 2021 NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts reports that younger drivers were involved in a higher rate of speed-related fatal traffic accidents. In all age groups, males were involved in these accidents at higher rates.
Young drivers in the age range of 15 to 20 years old accounted for the highest number of fatalities in crashes where speed was a factor. In this age range, 35% of the male fatalities were speed-related, while only 21% of female fatalities were speeding accidents.
Males remain at higher risk for drunk driving than females; however, the age ranges where the highest fatality rates exist fluctuate. Drivers aged 35 to 44 were in the highest range to experience a fatal traffic crash that involved alcohol. The fatality rate was 44% among men and 19% among women.
The age range of 25 to 34 years old was the second highest at a recorded 43% of males and 22% of females dying in alcohol-related car accidents where speed was a factor.
The age range of 21 years old to 24 years old was the third highest and included 40% of males and 22% of females being involved in alcohol-related fatal car crashes where speed was a factor.
Factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents
According to the data, 5,932 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021, the highest number of motorcyclists killed ever recorded since data collection started back in 1975. In the year before, there were 5,506 motorcyclists killed.
The number of individuals who are injured but not killed on motorcycles has also increased over the years. In 2021, 82,686 motorcyclists were injured, a 5% increase from the previous year’s 78,944 motorcyclists injured.
As with car crashes, certain factors create a heightened risk of injury and fatality for motorcyclists and their passengers.
Car crashes are more likely to occur in urban areas. The NHTSA reports that 67% of fatalities happen in urban locations as compared to 33% of fatalities in rural locations.
The type of roadways also paints an image of how motorcycle accidents happen. 65% occur in locations where there is not an intersection present while 35% of fatalities occurred at an intersection. One of the biggest dangers that exist for motorcyclists is other drivers. Drivers making left-hand turns pose a greater risk of running into and severely injuring or killing a motorcyclist.
In 2021, drivers aged 30 to 34 suffered the highest number of fatalities, with 700 motorcyclists killed. Drivers aged 25 to 29 were the second highest fatality age ranges at 693 motorcyclists killed. Older drivers also accounted for a significant number of deaths, with drivers 65 and older making up 598 motorcycle fatalities.
What are the most common causes of injury in car accidents?
The common causes of accidents are preventable, and heightened safety and awareness can help minimize national injury and fatality rates.
Drunk driving remains one of the leading reasons for car crash fatalities and injuries. This also extends to impaired driving, including driving under the influence of drugs.
Speeding is another leading cause of car accidents. In 2021, 29% of all car accidents and fatalities were the result of speeding.
Distracted driving includes anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Common examples of distracted driving are eating, talking on the phone or texting, distractions from passengers, or using navigation, stereos, and other entertainment systems.
What are the most common causes of injury in motorcycle accidents?
Despite the many safety enhancements motorcycles offer, their smaller size, design, and method of operation make them susceptible to other dangers on roadways.
Other drivers may not see a motorcyclist when they are on the roadway. This is especially the case for drivers of larger vehicles like semi trucks, or drivers on roadways that are winding and narrow.
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist drives in between lanes of the road. This dangerous practice can cause a motorcyclist to suddenly appear next to another driver, causing an accident.
Unmarked road hazard
The small size of a motorcycle makes unmarked road hazards such as potholes, slippery roadways, or other road obstructions dangerous, especially if the driver is speeding.
Hitting an object
Motorcyclists experience a higher rate of hitting a fixed object, due to factors such as easy maneuverability that allows a motorcyclist to get into places a car simply can’t. This translates to higher rates of collision.
Car accidents vs. motorcycle accidents: How do injuries differ?
Motorcyclists will typically suffer more severe, life-threatening injuries than victims of a car accident. Motorcyclists don’t have safety measures such as airbags and seat belts to protect them during an accident and are often ejected from their bikes.
Injuries motorcyclists might face include:
- Road rash
- Facial fractures
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Limb amputations
- Traumatic brain injuries
Injuries car accident victims might face include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Are motorcycles unsafe?
Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a passenger vehicle. Data from industry leaders and governing officials like the NHTSA highlight that fatalities in a motorcycle accident are nearly 30 times higher than in an accident involving a passenger vehicle. National data highlights the dangers that exist when driving a motorcycle. The odds of dying in a motorcycle accident versus a car accident are higher because of these greater safety risks.
How to protect yourself when you are behind the wheel
Despite the dangers that exist when driving a motorcycle or car, there’s plenty you can do to help mitigate these risks and remain safe when you’re on the road.
When operating a passenger car, practice the following:
- Do not text or talk on the phone while driving
- Be aware of distractions from passengers
- Observe posted speed limits
- Limit driving during inclement weather
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Regularly inspect your vehicle for maintenance issues
When operating a motorcycle, practice these safety habits:
- Take a safety course and understand the dangers that exist when operating a motorcycle
- Always check the weather before you ride
- Wear appropriate motorcycle gear, including helmets, jackets, and gloves
- Do not engage in risky behaviors such as speeding or lane splitting
- Make yourself visible, wear reflective gear, and always use your signals
- Practice safe following distances
- Obey traffic rules
Does Adam S. Kutner handle motorcycle injuries and car accident cases?
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle or car accident, you can explore your legal options when you work with an experienced accident lawyer in Las Vegas. If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident in Henderson or Paradise, Las Vegas, reach out to our team today to speak with a legal expert about your case.
At Adam S. Kutner, Injury Attorneys, our team can help you understand and exercise your legal rights.
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Transmission of information from this site is not intended to create, and its receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between Adam S. Kutner and the user of this site. In the event that any information on this website does not conform fully with regulations in any jurisdiction, this law firm will not accept representation based on that information.
Distracted Driving. (2023).
Impaired Driving: Get the Facts. (2022).
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