Motorcycle Accidents – The Facts

motorcycle crash webuyanybike blog

Motorcyclists are an extremely vulnerable group of road users; they aren’t protected by an outer shell the way other vehicles are and can be much lighter/smaller. These characteristics, as well as many more, come together to make motorcycle riding risky and therefore more accidents are expected.

For example, the government released a figure in 2006 stating per mile travelled, there were 35 times more fatalities from bike accidents than from a car.

There are quite a few reasons why biking is a dangerous activity, We Buy Any Bike have come up with a few to mention:

  • Road hazards

Riders are more affected by road hazards than car drivers. For example, if there is a small pothole in the road a car would drive over it while feeling a slight bump, if a rider hits this the wrong way they could become airborne and be thrown from the bike.

  • Visibility

Motorbikes are smaller, which means they can be hidden behind other vehicles and obstacles. Bikes also move differently from other vehicles, which might affect the way they are positioned on the road.

  • Power

Bikes can be lighter yet more powerful than many vehicles; studies show riders can be encouraged to use this huge amount of power, with it being so accessible. Extremely fast accelerating has been proven to amplify high-risk behaviour.

  • Skill

To ride or drive any vehicle, an amount of skill is required. However to be a motorbike rider, more skill is arguably required, and like all road users experience is ever expanding. It’s when people ride motorcycles without the required skill that accidents are more likely.  In 2001 a study found that one quarter of all motorcycle fatalities involved a rider without their full licence.

motorcycle crash

Motorcycle accidents in the UK

In an article from the Department of Transport 2015, they released some statistics on Motorcycle Causalities in the UK. They produced some really interesting facts showing the number of motorcyclist’s getting killed or seriously harmed has declined greatly since 1979, as shown in the below graph:

The highest number of biker fatalities was shown to be in 1930 at a staggering 1,832. The lowest year was 2012 at 328 deaths; this figure has floated around there in the last few years. The seriously injured figure had a low year in 2010, at an annual figure of 4,780.

High danger roads

The study also showed where the crashes were taking place, outlining a huge percentage of fatalities on rural roads. The vast majority of accidents involved another vehicle, and of the other vehicles 79% were cars.

Male or Female

An interesting topic to look at in motorcycle accidents is the divide in gender. There are a number of studies showing women are a lot less likely to be seriously injured in a crash then a male. For example in 2013 there were 4,984 killed or seriously injured bikers, of that number only 6% were female.

However this correlates to the miles the genders do. Figures showed that in the same year, males travelled an average of 6 times more miles than a female, at 405 compares to 67.

What’s the biggest problem area

Cars! Collisions between cars and bikes are the most common, they also result in the largest number of fatalities. From 2009 to 2013 cars made up 79% of the traffic on the road, they were involved in 71% of motorcyclist fatalities.

car crash with motorcycle accidents

How do the accidents occur

The Department of Transport reported that between 2009 and 2013;

  • 38% of accidents involving motorcycles colliding with cars and van were due to a poor turn or manoeuvre.
  • 46% of car and 47% of light vans involved in accidents with motorcycles were because they failed to look properly
  • 41% of bikers were killed or seriously injured by people using crossroads or t-junctions incorrectly
  • 7% of HGVs accidents with motorbikes were put down to drivers neglecting blind spots
motorcycle crash accidents

How do we stay safe

There will always be the danger on the road, and if you are on a bike the danger is greater. It’s a risk we all take when we get behind the wheel or set of handlebars, but there are things we can do to help keep us safe! Here are a few points:

✓ Assume no one can see you

✓ Ride within your ability

✓ Never take any unnecessary risks

✓ Keep your distance

✓ If in doubt, ride slowly

✓ Stay visible by wearing hi-vis

Stats show if you slow down by 5-10% you massively increase your reaction time and amount of control you have in an unexpected situation.

Riding is about having fun and staying safe; these facts are to make people aware of the common dangers so they can hopefully be avoided.

If you would like to add anything that may have been missed, we’d be grateful if you could put it in the comments!

motorcycle rider accidents

16 thoughts on “Motorcycle Accidents – The Facts”

  1. Have some additional training , advanced ROSPA or IAM both are similar , then take some more training , the more the better.

      1. Good blog! Im wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. Ive subscribed to your RSS feed which may do the trick? Have a nice day!

        1. Hi Carley, we don’t actually have that function as yet but it is something we are looking into. Once its up and running I’ll let you know.
          Thanks for reading, much appreciated!


  2. The motorcycle test is so much harder now, compared to when i passed my motorcycle test, i do think this is a good thing, also modern bikes are a lot better than they used to be, and of course bike gear/helmets etc are now very good, it all helps to make it safer to do?? Ive been riding on the road since 1978, and still love riding my motorcycle, its the freedom of spirit and the thrill that gets me everytime , ride well with good gear, be alert, and above all else, RIDE WITHIN YOUR LIMITS, and enjoy?

    1. All great points! The test is definitely a lot harder now. My dad was telling me about getting his licence the other day, he just had to ride around a car park for 5 minutes and that was it! I think its great that there are so many levels to it now, its a nerve racking thing but really proves you have the determination and skill to be on the road. Once you’ve passed its all worth it, and nothing compares to that first ride out on your own.
      Thanks for reading Lee, really appreciate it ?

  3. An added emphasis for car drivers during their training and test about the need to make an allowance for motorcycles in certain circumstances and a raising in awareness for the need to make observations during turns would help. But the bottom line is, bikers ate vulnerable and must expect other road users to not see them and act accordingly. Ride safe.

    1. I agree and believe that when people are training for their car test, there should be a specific section which goes through how bikes can move on the road and where they can be positioned. As you say, bikers are vulnerable and if anyone makes a mistake its generally the rider who suffers. This is one of the man reasons I like riding off road, away from other vehicles!
      Thanks for reading

  4. Hi, every time I read stats about bikers road injuries, there’s never any mention of the car drivers’ culpability. Why? When they are the single biggest offenders. This I’ve seen: painting their nails and driving with knees, the usual phone below the steering wheel, or taking phone from passenger and handing back. And lorry drivers!?!?!? Eating their dinners, and watching films on their lap tops? Every stat mentioned above pails in comparison.

    1. I have also seen some absolutely crazy things from drivers, in this blog I do mention cars as being the biggest problem for bikers quite a few times. Also in the ‘How do the accidents occur’ section I give multiple stats on how the drivers have caused accidents in the past, from the Department of Transport. This of course isn’t to say that riders never make mistakes on the road, we’re all human, but riders need to take extra care as they are so vulnerable and exposed.
      Thanks for reading Gordon

  5. I’ve found most car drivers to be much more courteous and considerate towards me in the last 15 years or so. It’s very much appreciated by bikers.

  6. Take advantage of the affordable and free training available once you’ve passed your test. I did bikesafe and learned so much beyond my DAS training. In particular about how to control the bike through appropriate gear selection and engine braking. There are also very cheap options for advanced rider training.

    1. Definitely, I’m actually planning on going for some advanced training so I can write about what happened, what you learn etc. There’s so many courses out there that a lot of riders don’t take advantage of (including me so far!), hopefully rising some awareness about the different options will encourage people to get involved.
      Bikesafe sounds very good, I will have a read about what they offer now! Thanks for that.

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