Motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country claim about 5,000 lives every year according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and most of the riders and passengers who die in these crashes are under the age of 30. Motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be killed in traffic accidents than passenger vehicle occupants, and they die after striking another vehicle about 75% of the time.
Alcohol and excessive speed
Many motorcycle crashes are caused by passenger vehicle drivers who fail to notice riders. When motorcyclists are to blame, impairment or excessive speed often play a role. In 2019, 42% of the motorcyclists who died in single-vehicle accidents were under the influence of alcohol when they crashed, and speeding was a contributory factor in 33% of all deadly motorcycle accidents. For motorcycle riders under the age of 25, that figure rises to 50%.
Pennsylvania motorcycle accident statistics
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s 2021 Crash Facts & Statistics report reveals that motorcycle fatalities increased by 3.7% to 223 in 2021. In 2018, 159 motorcycle riders and passengers lost their lives in the Keystone State. The PennDOT data also reveals that motorcyclists who crash are more likely to be intoxicated than passenger vehicle drivers who are involved in accidents. In 2021, 4.8% of the drivers who crashed in Pennsylvania were impaired by alcohol. Among motorcyclists, that figure was 8.1%.
Staying safe on two wheels
Riding a motorcycle is far more dangerous than driving a car, but there are ways to reduce the risks. Only 8% of the motorcyclists who died in accidents in 2019 took and passed motorcycle safety courses, and more than half of them were not wearing helmets. Motorcyclists can also increase their chances of reaching their destinations safely by taking care at intersections and in inclement weather. More than a third of the motorcyclists killed each year lose their lives in accidents that take place at intersections, and wet road conditions are a factor in about one in three motorcycle crashes.