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Minor automobile accidents where one vehicle strikes another usually does not cause harm or injury to the occupants. Alternatively, bikers are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries or death when hit by a passenger vehicle or commercial truck. Many surviving motorcycle victims suffer serious permanent disabilities.

Unfortunately, a disproportionately large number of motorcycle accident victims do not survive. This is because motorcyclists and passengers are often exposed to the elements and lack protection that safeguards their bodies. Without proper headgear and safety equipment, the victim can easily suffer life-threatening trauma.

The 2013 information below is based on current motorcycle accident fatality data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Fatality Facts

In 2013, there were more than 8 million motorcycles and scooters on America’s roads. That same year, 4300 bikers lost their lives and more than 88,000 were injured in motorcycle accidents, crashes and collisions. Between 1998 and 2008, motorcycle deaths increased significantly, compared to previous decades. Approximately 13 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2013 involved motorcycles.

Motorcycles account for approximately three percent of all registered motorized vehicles in the United States. However, the rate of fatalities by unlicensed motorcycle drivers was significantly higher compared to unlicensed passenger vehicle drivers who were involved in a fatal accident. Nearly half of all fatal motorcycle accidents that year where the result of a vehicle colliding with a bike. More than two thirds of those accidents were caused by a vehicle turning left in the pathway of an oncoming motorcyclist who was passing, going straight, or overtaking other vehicles.

Statistics released by the NHTSA that year indicate that out of all motorcycle accident-related deaths in 2013, more than one third involved rider speeding. The data also shows that motorcyclist that year were three times more likely to lose their life in a passenger vehicle traffic accident, compared to occupants in automobiles.

Motorcyclist operating large 500-1000cc engine bikes accounted for nearly 4 out of all 10 motorcycle accident-related fatalities. This number represents the highest increase of fatalities overall since the agency first began collecting data back in 2002. In addition, older bikers 40 years and older were involved in three out of every four motorcycle accidents with fatalities. This is a significant problem because the average age of bikers killed on roadways nationwide is 42 years old.

Single Vehicle Accidents

More than four out of 10 bikers who lost their lives in a single vehicle crash in the United States back in 2013 had a BAC (blood alcohol level) of 0.08 or higher. The largest age group (40 to 44 years old) accounted for nearly 4 out of 10 alcohol-related fatalities while age groups 35-39 and 45-49 years old accounted for 37 percent each. The statistics indicate that bikers traveling at night are nearly 3 times as likely to be killed because of high BAC levels compared to motorcyclists killed during the day in single or multi-vehicle crashes.

In 2013, in the United States, most bikers lost their lives on non-interstate major roads in both rural and urban areas, which accounted for nearly 56 percent of all deaths. Only 11 percent of all motorcycle-related fatalities occurred on freeways and interstates that year.

Most Deadly Month of the Year

The data released by the NHTSA shows that the summer months from June through September to be the deadliest for motorcyclists. In 2013, more than 500 bikers lost their lives in June, July and September with the greatest number of fatalities (630) occurring in August. Throughout all the months, the deadliest days of the week for bikers are weekends, which account for nearly 49 percent of all motorcycle fatalities.

Traveling on a bike from 12 PM to 9 PM appears to be the deadliest times of the day for motorcycle riders, especially on the weekends. Statistics show that 23 percent of all motorcycle accident deaths that year occurred between 6 PM and 9 PM, 19 percent between 3 PM and 6 PM, and 17 percent between noon and 3 PM.

There are various factors that cause most motorcycle accidents that include poor weather conditions, limited visibility and drivers disobeying speed limits or ignoring traffic signs. In addition, the limited use of helmets in Illinois has significantly increased the number of motorcycle accident deaths statewide.