The most obvious reason there are more fatalities in motorcycle crashes is that a motorcyclist does not have the same level of physical protection as a passenger in a car. Vehicles have a steel frame that is reinforced to withstand collisions, as well as airbags and seatbelts to protect passengers. Depending on the point of impact, there could be several feet between the passenger and the initial point of impact in a collision.
However, a motorcyclist does not have this level of protection in a motorcycle accident. Even though a rider may wear a motorcycle helmet, specially-designed clothing for motorcyclists, and wear other protective gear, the rider has nothing between him and the other vehicle during an impact. The motorcyclist’s body receives the full impact during a crash and is often thrown through the air or down the street. For this reason, motorcyclists have a higher risk of traumatic injuries and fatal injuries during a collision compared to passengers in vehicles.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2016, motorcycle riders were 28 times more likely to sustain fatal injuries in a motorcycle crash compared to passengers in cars, based on the miles driven. In the same year, 5,286 individuals died in motorcycle accidents in the United States, an increase of 5.1 percent from the previous year. On average, over 88,000 people are seriously injured in motorcycle crashes each year in the U.S.