Motorcycle accidents can cause life-changing injuries, including broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. Preventing motorcycle accidents in Arizona can save lives. Avoiding motorcycle collisions begins with learning why they happen. Analyzing Arizona’s most recent motorcycle crash facts (2022) can shed light on the causes of these collisions and how they may be prevented in the future.
The latest year that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) published a motor vehicle crash report is 2021. In this document, ADOT reported 2,594 total motorcycle collisions – making up 2.14 percent of all vehicle accidents in the state. Arizona’s fatality rate per registered motorcycle is at a five-year low of 0.575. Here is a breakdown of 2021’s motorcycle accidents in Arizona:
Based on these statistics, the vast majority of motorcycle collisions caused injuries (79.11 percent). Motorcyclists are injured much more often than passenger vehicle occupants in collisions. The ADOT’s 2021 report showed a slight decrease in the number of motorcycle fatalities compared to 2020 (160 vs. 161), and a more significant decrease from 170 fatalities in 2019.
A selection of key motorcycle crash statistics from 2019 through 2021 have been tracked in the chart below.
Unlike the downward trend noted in Arizona, national motorcycle accident data shows a startling increase in the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in recent years. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2020 shows that an estimated 82,528 motorcyclists were injured and 5,579 were killed. Motorcyclist fatalities made up about 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. The number of motorcyclists killed in accidents increased by 11 percent from 2019 to 2020. Shockingly, 2020 had the highest number of motorcyclist deaths nationwide since the FARS data collection system began in 1975.
The chart below tracks U.S. motorcycle accident fatalities over a ten-year period from 2011 to 2020. Although fatalities declined from 2012 to 2014 and 2016 to 2018, they have been on the rise since 2019. In 2020, approximately 2.87% of the nation’s motorcycle crash deaths occurred in Arizona.
The Insurance Information Institute states that the occupant fatality rate in 2021 was 59.34 for every 100,000 motorcycles registered in the country, compared to a rate of 10.5 fatalities for every 100,000 registered motor vehicles. This translates into a fatal accident risk that is almost six times higher for motorcyclists.
In addition, motorcycles are less crashworthy than typical motor vehicles, meaning motorcyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries due to a lack of protection. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to be killed in motor vehicle accidents and 4 times more likely to be injured than passenger vehicle occupants, based on crash data from 2020.
In terms of demographics, the highest number of motorcycle collisions in Arizona in 2021 involved the 25-34 age group, making up 24.10 percent of the total. The second-highest age group was 35-44, at 16.13 percent. These statistics show that younger motorcyclists (under the age of 45) are more likely to crash on a motorcycle than older riders. A breakdown of motorcycle crashes by operator age for the year 2021 is graphed below.
Human error is the number one cause of motorcycle crashes in Arizona. Drivers often make dangerous errors such as speeding, violating traffic laws, texting and driving, and driving while intoxicated that increase the odds of a motorcycle collision. Driver inattention can be a fatal mistake, as a driver may not see a motorcyclist coming.
According to the 2021 ADOT report, the following are listed as the first harmful events for motorcycle collisions:
Motorcyclists have a negative stigma surrounding them, with assumptions such as that they are reckless or assume the risk of an accident. However, data from ADOT shows that the vast majority of motorcyclists – 80.43 percent – were under no apparent influence at the time of their accidents.
The ADOT reported that the majority of motorcycle accidents in Arizona in 2021 took place in urban areas (77.49 percent), with only 22.51 percent occurring in rural parts of the state. Out of the 2,010 urban motorcycle collisions reported, 117 were fatal and 1,577 caused injuries. The light conditions at the time of most motorcycle accidents was daylight, with 1,660 total crashes. The second most common time of day was dark, but lighted (615 accidents). The road surface conditions were mostly dry (2,519 accidents), with only 59 reported motorcycle collisions occurring on wet roads. A visualization of urban versus rural crashes is included below.
Under Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-964, anyone under the age of 18 is legally required to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. Anyone over the age of 18 can operate or ride a motorcycle without one. Helmet use is strongly encouraged, however. The National Safety Council reports that motorcycle helmets are about 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries. It is estimated that over 25,000 lives were saved with motorcycle helmets over a 15-year period.
Wearing a helmet can protect a motorcyclist from suffering a serious or fatal brain injury in an accident. National statistics showed that in states without universal helmet laws, more than half (57 percent) of motorcyclists who were killed in accidents in 2020 were not wearing helmets. By comparison, in states with universal helmet laws, only 11 percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets.
Motorcycle accidents are relatively common in Arizona and throughout the country. If you or a loved one gets injured in a motorcycle crash in Arizona, try to stay calm and take the following steps:
An insurance company may try to take advantage of you unless you are represented by an attorney. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Arizona, contact Stone Rose Law for a free legal consultation.