Motorcycle accident risks and prevention

Motorcyclist Safety

If you’ve ever wondered “how common are motorcycle accidents”, the quick answer is “all too common” with 18,042 reported accidents occurring in 2017.

Us motorcyclists, along with all road users, need to unite to do our bit to help avoid motorcycle accidents in any way we can… statistics show it’s not easy out there on two wheels.

There are plenty of ways we can help reduce our chances of being involved in an accident, highlighted on this page and others, with one being to arm ourselves with knowledge of current road rules, dangers and statistics.

Who is most at risk of a motorcycle accident?

Motorbike accident statistics in the UK point towards the same demographic: young males (sorry guys).

It has been found that the majority of those killed or seriously injured on a motorcycle are males under the age 25

Motorcycle road accident statistics UK

How likely is it to get in a motorcycle accident? Recent statistics make it clear that riding a bike in the UK is risky business.

The Police Foundation found in Great Britain in 2016, there were 19,297 motorcyclists injured in reported road accidents with 5,553 of these being killed or seriously injured.

There was just under 170,100 casualties linked with motorcycle accidents in England and Wales.

Data produced by the Department of Transport indicates that motorcycles are 38 times more likely to be killed in a motor accident compared to car occupants, per mile travelled.

Accidents are more prominent in the summer months when there are more motorcycles out on the road and begins to fall as the temperature gets colder in Autumn.

Fatal motorcycle accidents UK

When considering buying a motorcycle or after being involved in a motorcycle accident in the UK, it is common to wonder about motorcycle accident fatalities as well as risk of injury.

What is the major cause of death in motorcycle accidents? What percentage of motorcycle accidents are fatal? These are important questions to ask and it’s important to remember that just one fatal motorcycle accident is too many.

That’s one life lost too soon, devastating family and friends who may never have had the opportunity to say goodbye. One life lost that could have been avoided.

Although we love our work and protecting the rights of motorcyclists, it is also not always easy to see how the lives of bikers have changed following injury or even fatality, which is why we actively promote motorcycle safety in the UK.

The majority of motorcyclist accident fatalities occur on rural roads, accounting for around 68% of all motorcycle fatalities.(1)

When looking at all motorcycle accidents, the majority of bikes are 500cc or more which suggests accidents occur more so with leisure riders rather than commuters.(2)

What percentage of motorcycle accidents are fatal?

Although motorcyclists only account for 1% of total road traffic, they account for around 18% of deaths on the road and are 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants per mile travelled. (RoSPA)

Figures released by the Department of Transport reveal there were 349 motorcycle deaths in 2017, from a total of 18,042 reported motorcycle accidents.

This data suggests that 1.93% of all motorcycle accidents result in fatality.

What is the major cause of death in motorcycle accidents?

Most motorcycle accident deaths are caused by vehicles not seeing motorcyclists an junctions, excessive speeds and unsafe lane changes or splitting

Junctions are the most common factor to motorcycle accidents, with 64% of accident occurring here. They usually occur at T-junctions where the driver is commonly at fault, failing to see the motorcyclist despite them being in full view.

How do the motorcycle accidents occur?

Although the majority of motorbike accidents occur on urban roads or motorways (70%), the majority of fatalities are actually on rural roads (66%, 2016).

The most common causes of accidents include:

  • Failure to negotiate bends
  • Collisions at junctions
  • Overtaking
  • Loss of control
  • Speeding
  • Alcohol

How to avoid motorcycle accidents?

Of course, we can’t future-proof ourselves from being involved in an accident and we can’t control the actions of others, but we can be vigilant in our own use of the roads and take steps to be aware of the actions of others.

  • Reduce speed when moving through bends
  • Take care when approaching a high-risk situation
  • Wear high-visibility clothing
  • Take particular care in poor weather
  • Keep an eye out for ice, potholes and debris in front of you
  • Don’t overtake when turning
  • Those with less experience need to tread carefully
  • Know the road rules well and abide by them
  • Slow down in built-up areas
  • Ensure helmet visor reduced glare
  • Drive at your own pace - don’t feel pressured by other riders
  • Don’t be a hero

In addition, wearing protective clothing such as a good quality helmet and leather can certainly reduce the seriousness of injuries incurred after the fact. It is always prudent to take as many safety precautions as possible.

Do any of these common accidents sound familiar?

If you’ve become injured in an accident due to another road user or external factor, you may be able to claim compensation.

If you are eligible to pursue a claim, getting the process started as quickly as possible is recommended.

Get in touch with one of the OYB team members and book your risk-free consultation today to find out what your options are.

1) BikeSafe "UK’s most dangerous roads for motorcyclists" 2) Depertment of Tranport "Facts on Motorcyclist Casualties June 2015"