Motorcycle Accident Statistics; Injuries and Fatalities Overview

Based upon information made available by the NHTSA for the year 2012, on a per vehicle mile traveled basis, motorcyclists were about 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured.[1] While motorcycles made up less than 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S., motorcyclists account for 15% of total traffic deaths.[2]

In 2012, 20.9% of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 16.7% for passenger car drivers, 16.1% for light-truck drivers, and 17.7% for large-truck drivers.[3]

New York Motorcycle Helmet Requirements and Helmet Safety

According to NHTSA, hundreds of motorcyclists and their passengers die each year needlessly as the result of their failure to wear a helmet.  In many of these cases, riders may have sustained relatively minor injuries in crashes other than the fatal blow caused by striking their head striking a roadway or another solid object if they had worn a helmet.

Many states, including New York, require that all motorcyclists and their passengers wear helmets.  Helmets must meet the United States Department of Transportation and Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards.  Helmets meeting these standards will have a US DOT sticker on them.

Regardless of whether a helmet was worn, motorcyclists still deserve fair and full compensation from those responsible for causing accidents.  Likewise, the families of those killed by others in motorcycle accidents deserve full compensation for their loss.  Not wearing a helmet in no way excuses other drivers from their wrongful acts.

Motorcyclists must also ensure that they comply with all state laws when riding.  Specific laws pertaining to motorcycle usage can be seen at the SafeNY website (  The section of the website pertaining to motorcycle, moped, and ATV usage can be seen here.

New York No-Fault Insurance Benefits DO NOT Apply for Injured Motorcyclists

Motorcycles are not considered “vehicles” under the provisions of New York no-fault insurance law, and motorcyclists are not a “covered persons” under such law.  As a result, unlike vehicle passengers and pedestrians injured in New York who are entitled to no-fault insurance benefits,   Injured motorcyclists are not entitled to such payments.

However, motorcyclists are still required to maintain liability insurance as prescribed by New York law. As a result, not only should all motorcyclists maintain at least the minimum required amounts of liability insurance they should also consider excess insurance coverage so that they are more fully protected in the case of an accident caused by them.[4]


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[4] See N.Y. Ins. Law § 5103(f).

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