Legal Guide

Car vs. Motorcycle Accidents - Which is More Common?

When considering road accidents, most people naturally assume motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. In fact, many people believe that two-wheelers, like bicycles and motorcycles, are more dangerous than four-wheelers. However, a motorcycle accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach has studied the accident statistics to reveal a rather shocking trend in the accident world.

With approximately nine million registered motorcycles in the United States, making up about 3% of all registered vehicles, there’s a lot to discover on the frequency of accidents on both ends.

Car vs. Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Vehicle manufacturers constantly improve their technology, recall faulty vehicle models, and release more advanced models and features. The same can be said for motorcycle manufacturers who go the extra mile to prevent fatalities by instituting accident prevention measures. However, these technologies and features have not totally eradicated accidents on the road.

With more speed promised by vehicles and motorcycles, the safety features somewhat become compromised in the face of high speed. To better understand vehicle and motorcycle accidents, below are some important statistics to remember.

Car Accident Statistics

  • The United States Department of Transportation reports that an average driver will experience at least one vehicle-related accident every six years. Drivers will also experience close calls at least twice a month.
  • Current statistical data shows that as many as 2 million disabling injuries occur annually in car accidents.
  • The National Highway Traffic Administration reported that about 6% of vehicle occupants are likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries.
  • The National Safety Council estimates over 12 million vehicle accidents annually involving over 20 million vehicles.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

  • Motorcycle accidents are reportedly 30 times deadlier than vehicle accidents. This means motorcycle accidents are likely to result in more fatal injuries than vehicle accidents.
  • The injury or death rate in an average motorcycle accident has climbed to about 80% compared to vehicle accidents which remain at about 20%.
  • Motorcycle riders over 40 are about 20 times more likely to be injured in an accident than vehicle drivers of the same age range.
  • Although motorcycles account for about 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States, they account for over 5% of highway-related fatalities.

Common Causes of Accidents

The difference in design, frame, features, and stability between vehicles and motorcycles account for a huge discrepancy in the accident statistics. For example, vehicles have a solid frame that protects the passenger and driver in the event of an accident. On the other hand, motorcycle riders and passengers are less protected. There is a higher chance of head injuries when motorcycle riders suffer head-on collisions than vehicle drivers.

The functionality and design of both transportation mediums make one more prone to fatal injuries than the other. However, the most significant cause of accidents on both sides is human carelessness and irresponsibility.

It’s important to note that human carelessness, love for speed, and irresponsibility is also cited as the leading cause of truck accidents. To further buttress this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released some statistics indicating;

  • An estimated 30 daily deaths resulting from drunk driving. This means that at least one person dies every 50 minutes daily across the United States.
  • About 10,000 deaths were recorded in 2018 due to speeding. The numbers from the previous year, 2017, showed about 49% of drivers without wearing seatbelts were fatally injured in speeding accidents.
  • In 2018, over 3,000 fatalities were reported due to distracted driving caused by operating mobile phones, not paying attention to the road, and operating electronic components in the car.

The above statistics further show that drivers and riders need to take responsibility for the increasing accident rates on the road.

Car and Motorcycle Accident Fatality Rates

Insurance companies often have updated information on accidents and accident reports. This is because insured drivers and riders are encouraged to contact their insurance providers as soon as they’ve been involved in a crash.

Given the updated information from insurance companies, the Insurance Information Institute pegs the occupant fatality rate to be at 10.5 of every 100,000 registered cars. On the other hand, occupant fatality is pegged at 59.34 for every 100,000 registered motorcycles.

Taking the information above into context, it means that motorcycle passengers are at least five times more likely to suffer fatal injuries than vehicle passengers.

The data becomes even more shocking when the miles driven by vehicle drivers per accident fatality and motorcycle riders per accident fatality is compared. Available data shows about 25.67 fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled for motorcycles as against the 0.67 fatality rate recorded for vehicles.

In terms of the miles traveled motorcycles are almost 39 times as dangerous as vehicles.

The Leading Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents can be traced back to two main sources;

  1. Driver errors resulting in accidents. These are often preventable accidents caused by issues like distracted driving, drunk driving, etc.
  2. Other accident causes, including mechanical failure, adverse weather conditions, and more.

According to the available data from insurance institutes and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 61% of all 36,560 motor vehicle accidents in 2018 happened in passenger vehicles. About 39% of the accidents were linked to single-vehicle crashes and 61% were multiple-vehicle collisions.

Narrowing the accidents by age, about 23% of accident victims who died in passenger vehicles were less than 25 years. The data also revealed over 6,5000 deaths caused by rollover crashes.

The Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents have become more common on the roads due to the increased speed limits offered by the transportation medium. However, outside of the speeding issue, other common contributors to motorcycle accidents include;

Low visibility: Motorcycle riders often suffer low visibility situations where they’re unable to see far ahead of them to respond to sudden changes in time. This can lead to collisions or swerving off their lane.

Lane splitting: Another leading cause of motorcycle accidents is lane splitting. This happens when motorcycle riders zip down the middle of a lane, especially during traffic. This increases the risk of accidents, especially when there’s another car speeding in the other lane.

Collision with fixed objects: Fixed objects and low visibility conditions are a dangerous combination, even for vehicle drivers. Studies suggest this reason is responsible for more than 25% of motorcycle crashes.

While motorcycles are considered more dangerous on the road, it is also important to understand the human effect in all of these. If you have suffered injuries due to motorcycle accidents, seek medical and legal help as quickly as possible.

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