What is Your Risk of a Motorcycle Crash


Every time someone gets in a car, there’s a chance, no matter how small, they’ll be involved in a crash and seriously injured or killed. When you’re a motorcycle rider, that risk goes way, way up. And depending on where you live, your risk of getting in an accident could be significantly higher than for those who live elsewhere.

How does the risk of a crash change based on where you live?

  • According to fatal motorcycle accident statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a clear trend can be found. Warm southern states have significantly more fatal motorcycle crashes than colder northern states.
  • Why is this?

  • Assuming all other conditions are the same (rider skill level, number of vehicles on the road, and so on), someone who rides only once a month is statistically less likely to be killed in a crash than someone who rides every day. Likewise, when the riding season is only a few months out of the year, as it is in cold states, those riders have fewer chances to be involved in a fatal crash than motorcyclists who can ride year-round. In fact, 60% of all motorcycle deaths nationwide happen between May and September, the months most hospitable to riding across most of the country. We’ve looked at crash data from 2017, the most recent year for which NHTSA data was available at the time of this writing, to determine both the safest and most dangerous states for riders.
    • The Top 5 Most Dangerous States for Motorcyclists


      1. Mississippi 2. Texas 3. South Carolina 4. Florida 5. Arizona

      Mississippi had the highest fatality rate among the motorcycle-riding population in the nation in 2017 with 40 motorcycle accident deaths. While that may not seem like much compared to the 490 deaths in Texas that same year, it is important to note that Texas has nearly 13x as many motorcyclists as Mississippi. For every 10,000 motorcyclists on the road, Mississippi had 14.22 deaths, compared to 13.44 deaths per 10,000 motorcycles in the Lone Star state.

    • THE TOP 5 SAFEST STATES FOR MOTORCYCLISTS


      1. Montana 2. South Dakota 3. Alaska 4. New Hampshire 5. Minnesota

      Montana had 306,655 registered motorcycles in 2017, nearly 11x more than Mississippi, but far fewer deaths. Only 23 people died in motorcycle crashes in Montana that year, an average of 0.75 deaths per 10,000 motorcycles.

    • MOST DANGEROUS STATES FOR MOTORCYCLISTS, COMPARED TO OTHER VEHICLE TYPES


      1. Nevada 2. Washington D.C. 3. Wyoming 4. Colorado 5. Hawaii

      While motor vehicle deaths as a whole have been decreasing over the last two decades, motorcycle fatalities are only going up, and they’re representing a larger share of all road deaths. In 1996, 2,161 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in the U.S. By 2016, that number was 5,286, more than double.

      In 2016, 22.6% of all road deaths in Nevada (more than one in every five) were motorcyclists, closely followed by 22.2% in Washington D.C., according to motorcycle death statistics collected by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

      However, in states with higher fatal crash rates for other vehicles types, motorcyclists aren’t necessarily safer. In Arkansas, motorcyclists represent only 7.1% of all road deaths, the smallest share of any state in the nation. However, Arkansas ranks 13th for most motorcycle deaths when judged by number of registered motorcyclists.

    TIPS TO AVOID ACCIDENTS


    Riders will always be at greater risk of fatal injury in a crash than people in passenger vehicles, because motorcycles lack features like safety cages, crumple zones, airbags, and seatbelts that are found on all modern cars, trucks, and SUVs. But that doesn’t mean riders can’t do anything to reduce their risks.

    Wear brightly colored clothing.

  • As cool and iconic as all black is, brightly colored clothing will make you stand out more to drivers. And since most collisions between cars and motorcycles happen when the driver fails to see the motorcyclist, this method of drawing other motorists’ eyes can go a long way to saving your life.
  • Make your bike more visible.

  • Bright colors don’t just work for your clothes; they work for your bike, too. A bright paint job or adding reflectors or even reflective tape can make your bike more visible to drivers, especially in dim lighting conditions.
  • Use your lights and signals.

  • Headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals all play an important part in letting other motorists know you are there and what you are doing, so there is less opportunity to collide while slowing or changing lanes.
  • Don’t ride at night.

  • You are most likely to get in a crash at night, but riding at dusk and dawn is also dangerous, as well as riding in rain or fog. Anything that reduces a driver’s visibility of you could end in a fatal accident.
  • Leave plenty of room.

  • By keeping distance between yourself and other vehicles, you give yourself, and other drivers, more time and space to react to avoid an accident in an emergency situation. Following too closely is one of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents in the U.S.
  • AFTER A CRASH, YOU DESERVE A LAWYER WHO GETS MOTORCYCLISTS


    Don’t let yourself or a loved one become a statistic – practice safe riding habits. And if you’re ever hurt in a crash, don’t let a negligent driver escape justice or paying compensation. After an accident, visit BackOffMyBike.com to get an attorney who knows how to help motorcyclists and their families after a serious or wrongful death. 

    MOTORCYCLE DEATHS BY STATES

    Select a State Below to See Details

    Mississippi Ranked #1 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    28,124
    Fatalities
    40
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    14.22

    Texas Ranked #2 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    364,690
    Fatalities
    490
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    13.44

    South Carolina Ranked #3 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    118,132
    Fatalities
    145
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    12.27

    Florida Ranked #4 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    586,267
    Fatalities
    590
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    10.06

    Arizona Ranked #5 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    164,055
    Fatalities
    163
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    9.94

    North Carolina Ranked #6 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    188,843
    Fatalities
    176
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    9.32

    New Mexico Ranked #7 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    57,718
    Fatalities
    53
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    9.18

    Kentucky Ranked #7 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    101,163
    Fatalities
    90
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    8.90

    Missouri Ranked #9 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    138,294
    Fatalities
    121
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    8.75

    Louisiana Ranked #10 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    113,664
    Fatalities
    96
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    8.45

    Tennessee Ranked #11 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    165,968
    Fatalities
    134
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    8.07

    Maryland Ranked #12 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    118,277
    Fatalities
    86
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    7.27

    Arkansas Ranked #13 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    89,457
    Fatalities
    65
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    7.27

    Nevada Ranked #14 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    76,032
    Fatalities
    54
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    7.10

    Alabama Ranked #15 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    112,185
    Fatalities
    79
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    7.04

    Hawaii Ranked #16 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    35,576
    Fatalities
    25
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    7.04

    Oklahoma Ranked #17 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    136,190
    Fatalities
    93
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    6.83

    Georgia Ranked #18 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    136,190
    Fatalities
    139
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    6.82

    Connecticut Ranked #19 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    203,922
    Fatalities
    57
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    6.32

    California Ranked #20 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    842,543
    Fatalities
    139
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    6.82

    Virginia Ranked #21 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    193,951
    Fatalities
    117
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    6.03

    Indiana Ranked #22 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    250,579
    Fatalities
    149
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.95

    Wyoming Ranked #23 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    28,960
    Fatalities
    17
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.87

    Kansas Ranked #24 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    95,892
    Fatalities
    56
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.84

    Michigan Ranked #25 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    258,487
    Fatalities
    150
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.80

    New Jersey Ranked #26 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    152,979
    Fatalities
    83
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.43

    New Jersey Ranked #27 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    190,002
    Fatalities
    103
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.42

    Maine Ranked #28 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    51,467
    Fatalities
    26
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    5.05

    Pennsylvania Ranked #29 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    377,158
    Fatalities
    187
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    4.96

    Illinois Ranked #30 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    333,943
    Fatalities
    162
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    4.85

    Nebraska Ranked #31 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    55,736
    Fatalities
    27
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    4.84

    Utah Ranked #32 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    83,993
    Fatalities
    39
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    4.64

    West Virginia Ranked #33 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    60,582
    Fatalities
    26
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    4.29

    Vermont Ranked #34 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    30,955
    Fatalities
    13
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    4.20

    Oregon Ranked #35 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    142,738
    Fatalities
    57
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.99

    Idaho Ranked #36 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    63,297
    Fatalities
    25
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.95

    Ohio Ranked #37 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    410,187
    Fatalities
    157
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.83

    New York Ranked #38 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    392,178
    Fatalities
    145
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.70

    Delaware Ranked #39 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    27,810
    Fatalities
    10
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.60

    Rhode Island Ranked #40 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    30,914
    Fatalities
    11
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.56

    Washington Ranked #41 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    231,401
    Fatalities
    80
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.46

    Massachusetts Ranked #42 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    168,931
    Fatalities
    51
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    3.02

    Iowa Ranked #43 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    194,603
    Fatalities
    48
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    2.47

    Wisconsin Ranked #44 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    194,603
    Fatalities
    48
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    2.47

    North Dakota Ranked #45 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    51,941
    Fatalities
    12
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    2.31

    Minnesota Ranked #46 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    241,556
    Fatalities
    55
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    2.28

    New Hampshire Ranked #47 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    78,798
    Fatalities
    15
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    1.90

    Alaska Ranked #48 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    31,859
    Fatalities
    6
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    1.88

    South Dakota Ranked #49 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    117,461
    Fatalities
    16
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    1.36

    Montana Ranked #50 For Most Deadly


    Registered motorcycles
    306,655
    Fatalities
    23
    Fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles
    .075

    *Based on information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 2017