North Carolina Motorcycle Safety Facts and Statistics

Those of us who ride motorcycles know that our hobby is rewarding but also carries risks. We enjoy the thrill of riding and know too well that motorcycle accidents happen. The numbers can’t be ignored. So before you go riding on the North Carolina roads, it’s important to be aware of some important statistics.

National Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 8.6 million motorcycles were registered in the United States.
  • 36% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2020 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • The number of motorcyclist fatalities in 2020 increased by 11% from 2019, from 5,044 to 5,579.
  • Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more frequently than other vehicles in traffic crashes.
  • 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities.
  • 82,528 motorcyclists were injured in accidents, a 2% decrease from 83,814 in 2019.
  • 41% t of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2020 were alcohol-impaired.

There is currently no official 2021 data for motorcycle crashes from the NHTSA. However, they have published an early estimate of traffic fatalities for 2021. The report shows that motorcyclist fatalities are up 9% from 2020. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, registrations declined from 8.6 million to 8.575 million from 2020 to 2021.

In North Carolina, in 2020, according to N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles:

  • 656 moped accidents resulted in 25 fatalities (3.8%) and 571 injuries (87%)
  • 173 motor scooter or motorbike accidents resulted in nine (5.2%) fatalities and 154 injuries (89%).

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, a total of 3,409 occurred in North Carolina, 182 were fatal, and 2,684 resulted in injury.

What can we do About Motorcycle Safety and Accidents?

Wearing a DOT-certified helmet is the best step you can take to protect yourself from death or injury in a motorcycle accident. Since 2008, North Carolina law has required all riders to wear DOT-compliant (aka Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, or FMVSS, 218-compliant) motorcycle helmets while on a motorcycle on public roads.

Helmet Use and Motorcycle Accidents

According to the NHTSA:

  • In States without universal helmet laws, 57%of motorcyclists killed in 2020 were not wearing helmets, compared to 11%in States with universal helmet laws.
  • Reported helmet use rates for motorcyclists killed in 2020 were 61%for riders and 46%for passengers.
  • 9% of motorcycle fatalities in North Carolina involved riders that were not wearing a helmet.

Sharing the road with motorcycles means:

  • Allowing the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always signaling when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Checking all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

Contact a North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Motorcycle Accident

The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses after a motorcycle crash in North Carolina. Our firm has experience assisting motorists in negotiating with the insurance company and getting them the compensation they deserve. Jason Taylor is a motorcycle rider and an experienced North Carolina motorcycle accident attorney. He understands you, your injuries, and the laws that protect your rights.


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