Motorcycle Accidents vs. Car Accidents

February 14, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Motorcycle Accidents vs. Car Accidents

Differences Between Motorcycle and Car Accidents

When comparing motorcycle accidents vs car accidents, motorcycle wrecks are in a different category. Although some similarities to auto accidents exist, motorcycle accidents differ due risks involved with operating a motorcycle, the causes of accidents, injuries sustained, and liability issues.

Motorcycles only have two wheels, no seatbelts or airbags, and of course, are much smaller than other vehicles. Furthermore, motorcycles lack the protection of being enclosed and shielded by metal. As opposed to car drivers, some of the major risks that motorcyclists face include limited visibility to car drivers, road hazards such as debris, rocks, and mud, and less stability. Motorcycle accidents often result in injury and are more difficult to handle than car accidents. Some important distinctions include:

  • Motorcyclists often suffer more severe and permanent injuries due to their vulnerability on the road
  • Motorcyclists may need additional long term financial support to pay for medical care after permanent spinal cord or brain injury
  • Victims of motorcycle accidents will often face additional challenges in court from jurors who see bikers as inherently “reckless” or risky
  • Many victims of motorcycle accidents need additional compensation for lost long-term wages and medical expenses
  • Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result in the wrongful death of the motorcycle rider and/or passengers.

Motorcycle and Car Accident Statistics

Studies and statistics regarding motorcycle accidents have proven:

  • Deaths in motorcycle accidents are approximately 30 times higher than fatalities in car accidents
  • Motorcycle riders over the age of 40 are approximately 20 times more likely to be injured in an accident than car drivers of the same age
  • Motorcycle riders under the age of 40 are approximately 36 times more likely to be fatally injured in an accident than drivers that are the same age
  • Motorcycle accidents result either in injury or death 8 percent of the time
  • Motorcycles represent approximately 2 percent of registered vehicles, but approximately 5 percent of all highway fatalities

Motor-Vehicle Accident Statistics

Car accident statistics and studies differ from those regarding motorcycle accidents; however, there are still large numbers of injured and fatally injured accident victims:

  • The US Department of Transportation estimates that the average driver will be involved in some type of vehicle accident every 6 years and that drivers will have a close call at least once or twice a month
  • During 2005 there were 39,189 vehicle crash fatalities nationwide, included in this number were 27,472 drivers and 10,036 passengers that were fatally injured
  • According to the National Safety Council, there are over 12 million motor vehicle accidents annually, which includes over 20 million vehicles
  • Statistics show that there are over 2 million disabling injuries from vehicle accidents annually
  • Studies show that as many as 75 percent of car accident injury victims still have symptoms as long as 6 months after the crash
  • According to a National Highway Traffic Administration study, approximately 28 percent of occupants in motor vehicle accidents suffer minor to moderate injuries and about 6 percent sustain severe or fatal injuries

Motorcycle Accident Safety Tips

Car and motorcycle accidents occur every day; while this is not going to stop, there are certain measures that can help reduce injuries and fatalities in motorcycle crashes and some car accidents. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road and are often not seen by other drivers until it is too late to avoid a collision. Riders should wear bright colors or leathers for protection and should always wear a helmet. If the helmet does not have a face shield, riders should consider wearing protective goggles. Additionally, motorcyclists should avoid riding at night as much as possible; it is more difficult for other drivers to see them, therefore increasing the risk of collision.

Tips for staying safe include:

  • Wear a Helmet: Wear a helmet that fits properly. While it may not prevent injury completely it will protect your head; head injuries are the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders.
  • Get the Right Gear: Leather and other specialized or armored motorcycle gear can help protect you from sliding across asphalt or from other road hazards (such as small rocks, like small rocks, and cigarette butts). Motorcycle boots are also a good idea to protect your feet not only from the asphalt in the event of a crash but from the heat of the engine as well. Bright colors or reflective material help increase your visibility to other drivers on the road.
  • Riding within Your Skills: Make sure u always drive within your skill level; do not attempt to travel at high speeds or weave in and out of traffic if you are not capable.
  • Leave Enough Space: While motorcycles may take less space to stop and maneuver, they still need more room than you might think. Practice stops in a safe space on your bike so you know how much space to give yourself in traffic and leave generous following distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
  • Avoid Distraction: Distracted driving is a bad idea in the first place, but it is worsened when riding a bike. If you are fiddling with your phone or iPod your reaction time is cut, putting you at higher risk for collision.
  • Look Twice: Never assume the driver sees you; ride defensively and take responsibility for staying safe around cars.
  • Watch the Weather: Motorcycles are not as stable as cars and riding in the rain is much riskier on a bike; two wheels give you half the traction of a car. Additionally, without windshield wipers, your visibility is compromised.

Car and Motorcycle Accident Injuries

While injuries from car accidents vary in severity, there are several common injuries. Some are minor and will heal in only a few days and others are permanent and may result in disability. Like motorcycle accidents, there is a risk for lacerations, broken bones, spine, back, and neck injury, internal injuries, and concussion or traumatic brain injury. It is important to remember that victims of car accidents, unlike motorcycles, have the added safety of enclosure, airbags, and seatbelts. Furthermore, motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and 5 times more likely to be injured.

Motorcycle accidents have a tendency to cause injuries very similar to car accident injuries although there are several injuries that are unique to motorcycle accidents. For example, motorcycle accidents tend to cause what is known as road burn or road rash. This injury involves motorcyclists suffering friction burns that shear away skin and tissue when they are dragged along the asphalt at high speed because of an accident. Biker's arm is another unique motorcycle injury where motorcyclists suffer severe damage to their arm's bones and tissue when they absorb the impact of a collision in an accident with another motor vehicle.

Seek an Experienced Car Accident Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident and sustained serious bodily or head injuries, you should consult an auto accident attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Many victims of motorcycle accidents are left permanently disabled or unable to work. Our auto wreck attorneys are aware of the medical and personal costs suffered by victims and their families.

We will take every step necessary to ensure you recover deserved compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term care needs when necessary. Call the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today for a free consultation and case evaluation: 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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