Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycles remain popular in Virginia and surrounding states. However, any biker involved in a crash has unique needs that only an experienced Winchester motorcycle accident attorney can properly meet. At Correll Law Firm, we have negotiated many settlements. We know how motorcyclists suffer terrible injuries—usually much more serious than those suffered by car passengers. We also know how difficult it is to negotiate with insurers when you are hurt riding a bike. Call our firm to speak with our Winchester motorcycle accident lawyer today.

Motorcycle Ownership Statistics

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

  • Virginia had 188,042 registered motorcycles on the road in 2021.
  • The number in 2021 was down slightly from previous years. In 2016, the state had 205,882 registered motorcycles and 197,135 in 2019.
  • Virginia had many more registered motorcycles in 2021 than neighboring states West Virginia (49,563) and Maryland (113,716). But we had fewer than our neighbor to the south, North Carolina (250,075).

Perhaps more people who are riding bikes have moved out of state, or perhaps the younger generation is less interested.

The Insurance Institute also keeps statistics on which type of on-road motorcycles were the most popular in 2021:

  • Cruiser 39.9%
  • Touring: 23.1%
  • Dual purpose: 7.3%
  • Supersport: 6.3%
  • Sport: 5%

Motorcycle Fatal Accident and Injury Statistics

Motorcycle crashes typically involve a collision with another vehicle, usually a passenger vehicle, whose driver is not paying attention. Many bikes blend in with the road and surrounding vehicles, so a person who is not vigilant will not see a motorcycle on the road. Other drivers take unnecessary risks around motorcyclists, such as passing too closely or failing to yield.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the fatality rate for motorcyclists is high, and has stayed high for years:

  • There were 5,932 fatalities in 2021, which worked out to a fatality rate of a little over 60 per 100,000 registered motorcycles.
  • In 2020, there were 5,506 fatalities, with a rate of almost 66 per 100,000.
  • Prior years had a much lower fatality rate. In 2014, for example, there were 4,594 fatal accidents and a rate of 54.58 per 100,000.

Interestingly, the injury rate has dropped considerably. Compare the following number of accidents and injuries per 100,000:

  • 2014: 91,987 accidents, with 1,093 injuries per 100,000
  • 2020: 78,944 accidents, with 946 injuries per 100,000
  • 2021: 82,686 accidents, with 837 injuries per 100,000

Motorcyclists make up a disproportionate number of motorists who are injured. The National Highway Transportation Safety Board reports that motorcycles account for less than 1% of all miles driven in the United States. However, motorcyclists make up 14% of all traffic fatalities. That is astounding.

Motorcycle Safety

Are bikers becoming more safety conscious? The numbers are difficult to interpret. According to III, 67% of bikers wore a helmet in 2022. This number was up from 65% the year before, but it was down from 71% as recently as 2018.

Those who are not wearing helmets are three times as likely to die from head injuries, which is why Virginia requires that you wear an approved helmet. As the state mentions, wearing a helmet does not reduce someone’s visibility.

Statistics on What Causes Motorcycle Accidents

Each accident is unique, but we do see some common contributing factors to wrecks. Alcohol and speed are two of the biggest.


Alcohol use is linked to about 1 in 3 fatal accidents and thousands of non-fatal injuries:

  • In 2020, 27% of riders killed in a motorcycle accident were alcohol impaired, meaning they had a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08%.
  • In 2020, another 7% of motorcycle riders killed had a lower BAC (.01% to .07%).

Consequently, more than a third of motorcyclists killed in accidents had some amount of alcohol in their system.

Driving Too Fast

Speeding is also associated with accidents:

  • At least 34% of riders involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2020 were speeding.
  • 43% of those aged 35-39 were speeding.


Interestingly, poor weather rarely causes fatal accidents. About 97% of fatal accidents occurred when it was clear or cloudy, with only 2% occurring during the rain. A bike is harder to handle in the rain, but perhaps fewer people are out on the road at that time because they don’t want to get wet.

What the Statistics Tell Us

Riding a motorcycle remains a fun hobby in Virginia. Although the number of people riding has decreased slightly over the past few years, there are still almost 200,000 registered motorcycles in the Commonwealth. And thousands more people will ride up from North Carolina or down from Maryland. Because so many bikes are on the road, collisions are bound to occur.

Sadly, the numbers tell us that many motorcyclists contribute to their own accidents. Drinking and jumping on a motorcycle is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Not only might you end up seriously hurting someone, but you will disqualify yourself from receiving compensation if injured in a wreck.

Virginia continues to follow contributory negligence as a defense. An accident victim who is even a little negligent loses the ability to receive compensation. Consequently, another motorist who was distracted can be let completely off the hook and won’t pay a dime.

Speed is another problem. Driving too fast for conditions is another form of negligence. You can be sure the driver who smacked into you will claim you were speeding or taking some other dangerous action. That is an effective defense—even if they were completely careless.

Need Help after a Bike Accident? Call Us

Our Winchester motorcycle accident lawyer is eager to help anyone injured out on the road. Riding a motorcycle should be a fun hobby, and no accident should stop you from hobbies that you love. You need compensation to cover bike repairs, medical bills, and other expenses. We can help. Our law firm can pick through the evidence to fully understand who is to blame for your wreck, while minimizing your own negligence at the same time. Call 540-546-4688 today to schedule a free consultation.