There are many more cars on the road than there are motorcycles, but it’s commonly assumed that the latter are involved in many more accidents and cause many more fatalities. But what’s the truth, what do the statistics actually say and are motorcycles really as deadly as claimed?
In this guide we look to answer that question while also taking a closer look at how cyclists fair when they are on the road.
Car Crash vs Motorcycle Crash
There are over 35,000 fatalities on the road every year in the United States and many of these are the result of car crashes, as well as trucks and buses. Deaths from car crashes outnumber deaths from bike crashes, but only because there are many more cars on the road.
If you focus purely on motorcycle deaths and compare them to car crash deaths on a like for like basis, the results are quite significant and shocking. Simply put, you are 35 times more likely to die on a motorcycle that you are in a car. The risk of serious injury is also much greater, because while low speed car crashes rarely cause death or serious harm, the same can’t be said for motorcycles.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that things are getting bad, for car owners at least. There are more cars on the road than ever before, but improved safety features means the odds of a collision resulting in a death or serious injury are rarer.
In any case, it seems people were right all along, motorcycles really do lead to more harm. To learn more, see this guide from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
What About Cyclists?
In recent years cycling has been promoted as a cheap, energy efficient way of getting around and in highly congested cities there are a number of cycling schemes to encourage citizens to take to two wheels. However, this increase has also led to an increased number of traffic fatalities, and every mention of the benefits of cycling seems to be suffixed with a note on how dangerous cycling is.
The stats are much less worrying though. Between 2009 and 2014 in the United States there was a gradual increase in the number of cycle deaths per year, and after 2014 the rates have continued to increase year on year. However, the fatalities still number fewer than 900. That’s a lot of deaths in anyone’s book, but it doesn’t come close to the deaths from cars and motorbikes, and it’s on the small side when you consider there are between 40,000 and 50,000 injuries every year from cycling accidents.
What’s more, the number of cycling deaths are lower now than they were throughout the 1980s and while you might expect the peak to be in recent years, it actually came back in 1987, when there were 948 recorded deaths.