Motorcycle Accident Statistics in the US
Motorcycle Accident Statistics in the US

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders continue to be overrepresented in fatal traffic crashes (as of 2019). In 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents.

The size and visibility of motorcyclists create additional safety challenges, but with safe riding practices and improved motorist awareness, both drivers and riders can be safer on the road.

Below highlights recent motorcycle accident statistics in the US as made available by the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

2019 Motorcycle Accident Statistics Highlights

  • In 2019 there were 5,014 motorcyclists killed, which accounted for 14 percent of traffic fatalities.
  • The number of motorcyclist fatalities in 2019 decreased from 2018, from 5,038 to 5,014.
  • An estimated 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2019, a 2-percent increase from 82,000 motorcyclists injured in 2018.
  • Per vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 29 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.
  • Thirty percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2019 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • In 2019 motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than drivers of any other motor vehicle type (29% for motorcycles, 20% for passenger cars, 19% for light trucks, and 2% for large trucks).
  • Forty-two percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2019 were alcohol-impaired.
  • Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were almost three times more frequently alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day in 2019
  • In States without universal helmet laws, 57 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2019 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 9 percent in States with universal helmet laws.

2018 Motorcycle Accident Statistics Highlights

  • In 2018 there were 4,985 motorcyclists killed—a decrease of 5 percent from the 5,229 motorcyclists killed in 2017.
  • An estimated 82,000 motorcyclists were injured during 2018, an 8-percent decrease from the 89,000 motorcyclists injured in 2017.
  • Per vehicle miles traveled in 2018, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.
  • Twenty-eight percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2018 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • In 2018 motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than drivers of any other motor vehicle type (25% for motorcycles, 21% for passenger cars, 19% for light trucks, and 3% for large trucks).
  • Thirty-nine percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2018 were alcohol-impaired.
  • Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were almost three times more frequently alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day in 2018.
  • NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017, and that 749 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
  • In States without universal helmet laws, 57 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2018 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 9 percent in States with universal helmet laws

2017 Motorcycle Accident Statistics Highlights

  • In 2017, there were 5,172 motorcyclists killed—a decrease of 3 percent from the 5,337 motorcyclists killed in 2016.
  • Per vehicle miles traveled in 2017, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.
  • Twenty-nine percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • In 2017, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were found to have the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle types (27% for motorcycles, 21% for passenger cars, 20% for light trucks, and 3% for large trucks).
  • Forty-three percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2017 were alcohol impaired.
  • Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were three times more frequently alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day in 2017.
  • NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017, and that 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
  • In States without universal helmet laws, 57 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2017 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8 percent in States with universal helmet laws.

Sources & Additional Resources


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