Multiple Vehicle Motorcycle Accident Statistics

A technical report commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and published in 1981 still mostly reflects the cause and effects of a multiple vehicle motorcycle accident today. Aptly named the Hurt Study (after head of the research team Harry Hurt, not as a reflection of the topic), the paper offered 53 insights into motorcycle accidents in general. Among these are interesting snippets including:

  • Only 2% of all motorcycle accidents were due to bad weather (probably because motorcyclists avoid going out then)
  • Most motorcycle accidents occur during short trips and near the starting travel point
  • Excessive speed was not a significant factor: median crash speed and pre-crash speed were 21.5 and 29.8 mph respectively
  • Nearly 50% of all motorcycle accidents are alcohol-related
  • A significant number of motorcyclists involved in accidents had no license or had a revoked license

It also included several observations on multiple vehicle incidents and the survival rate of motorcyclists involved in accidents. Some observations for multiple vehicle motorcycle accidents:

  • Comprising 75% of these motorcycle accidents, in most cases the other vehicle was a passenger vehicle
  • Drivers of the other vehicle impinged on the motorcycle right-of-way, causing approximately 66% of accidents
  • A majority of accidents occurred because the motorist did not see the motorcycle until it was too late, and most happened at intersections. The use of motorcycle headlights even during the day and wearing bright colors increased conspicuity of motorcycles and reduced the number of accidents significantly
  • Motorcycle riders involved in these types of accidents are at an extremely high risk of injury (98%), and the degree of severity increases exponentially with motorcycle size, speed of collision, alcohol consumption and lack of protective gear, especially a safety helmet

A motorcycle accident is bad enough, but when another larger vehicle is involved, the consequences can be deadly. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent motorist, you need to make sure you don’t just become a statistic.

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