The rate of fatal motorcycle crashes across the country increased 11% from 2019 to 2020, after decreasing consistently since 2016. Motorcycle deaths increased at over twice the rate of all vehicular deaths, which increased as well.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and ValuePenguin’s analysis of recent accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells a sobering story: It’s dangerous to be a motorcyclist in the United States.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Motorcycles are more dangerous by design
Much of what is appealing to riders about motorcycles is exactly what makes them so deadly. They’re fast and nimble, and there’s very little between riders and the fresh air and open road.
With that freedom comes tremendous risk. In 2020, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely to die in an accident than people in passenger vehicles.
Key findings from motorcycle accident statistics
Weekends in the summer are by far the most dangerous time to be out on a motorcycle.
- 49% of all motorcycle fatalities between 2016 and 2020 took place between 6 pm Friday and 6 am Monday.
- Fatalities involving all other types of vehicles are more common on weekdays, possibly due to increased commuter traffic.
- 49% of all fatalities happened between June and September. This makes sense, especially in states with harsh winters.
- 13% of all fatalities happen in July, more than in any other month.
- 79% of fatal motorcycle accidents since 2016 took place in clear conditions, suggesting human error may be to blame.
- About a third of all fatal motorcycle crashes from 2016 to 2020 involved speeding.
Which states had the most motorcycle fatalities?
Texas, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., South Carolina, and Arkansas had the highest rates of fatal crashes per 1,000 motorcycles, making them the deadliest states for riders. Alaska, Iowa, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Wisconsin had the lowest rates.
Do motorcycle helmet laws protect riders?
Only 18 states and D.C. legally require all motorcyclists to wear helmets regardless of age, but helmet laws don’t necessarily guarantee more safety. Washington, D.C. has a universal helmet law for all riders, yet the nation’s capital still sees some of the country’s highest fatality rates.
Conversely, Minnesota and Wisconsin had the lowest rates of motorcycle fatalities in the country, and both states only require riders under 18 to wear helmets.
Get the best price for motorcycle or car insurance
Every state except Florida requires motorcyclists to carry motorcycle insurance, and of course, car insurance is required in almost every state. Good coverage is always a safe bet—riding a motorcycle is risky enough as it is.
Insurance super app
Jerrywas designed to make shopping for insurance as quick and easy as a morning ride. For car insurance, users can get quotes for the coverage they need in the app in about 45 seconds. You’ll have to call one of Jerry’s agents for quotes on motorcycle insurance, but don’t worry—our friendly insurance experts will find you the best price.
“Jerryblew my mind, honestly. From start to finish, using the app took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 of savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.” —Savanna R.