top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Types of Motorcycles Crash the Most? | Motorcycle Riding and Fatalities

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Motorcycle crashes have a higher fatality rate than motor vehicle accidents due to the lack of protection available to the rider and the motorbike occupants. Due to their lightweight, motorcycles tend to swerve more than passenger vehicles, which can increase the risk of fatal accidents.

It’s challenging to prove motorcycle accident cases, as insurance companies typically pass the blame onto the motorcyclists. Fortunately, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have successfully represented many injured riders and recovered millions of dollars for their clients.

Those who have suffered motorcycle accident injuries due to another's negligence in Houston, Texas, should reach out to the legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options.

Motorcycle Riding in the US: What Types of Motorcycles Crash the Most?

Motorcycle Riding in the US: What Types of Motorcycles Crash the Most?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the following are the different types of motorcycles registered in the United States:

Chopper Motorcycles

In 2021, there were 32,564 choppers registered in the United States, which made up about 0.4% of all motorcycles in the country.

Motorcycle accidents caused 771 fatalities in 2021 under the other/unknown category, which includes choppers.

Standard Motorcycles

4.2% (360,587) of all motorbikes registered in the United States are standard motorcycles.

Also commonly referred to as roadsters, standard motorcycles have low-powered engines and beginner-friendly characteristics.

Cruiser Motorcycles

In the United States, there were 3,417,816 cruisers registered, which amounted to 39.9% of all motorcycles in the country.

The IIHS groups cruiser and standard motorcycles together in their report, and under this category, there were 1,733 fatal accidents in 2021.

Touring Motorcycles

23.1% (1,982,184) of all motorcycles registered in the United States were touring motorbikes.

Also referred to as baggers, these types of motorbikes are large and come with many comfort-oriented features.

With 1,184 fatalities, touring motorcycles were the second-largest category when it came to fatal motorcycle accidents in 2021.

Sport-touring Motorcycles

Around 2.2% (189,027) of all registered motorbikes in the United States in 2021 were sport-touring motorcycles. These hybrids combine the performance of a sports motorbike with the comfort and long-distance capabilities of a touring motorcycle.

There were 69 fatally injured drivers driving sport-touring motorcycles during the same year.

Sport/Unclad Sport Motorcycles

According to the IIHS, there were 288,953 unclad sports motorcycles and 431,773 sport bikes registered in the US in 2021.

These two types of motorcycles belong in the same category, with the slight difference being that the unclad sports motorcycle does not have plastic body fairings.

Under this category, there were a total of 738 fatal accidents involving sport/unclad sports motorbikes in 2021.

Supersport Motorcycles

Supersport motorcycles represented 6.3% (540,414) of all of the motorcycles registered in the country. These types of motorbikes are built for racing but manufactured to be street-legal.

In 2021, there were 1,169 fatal motorcycle accidents involving supersport bikes in the US.

Does the Engine Size Increase the Risk of a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?

Most people have this misconception that the size of a motorcycle engine directly impacts the risk of a fatal accident. However, that is not true, as there are other factors that come into play.

According to many studies, including the 2013 research paper titled "Motorcycle Engine Capacity May Not Underlie Increased Risks," there is no relationship between increasing engine size and crash risk. High power-to-weight ratios have been shown to result in a higher risk of fatal accidents.

Sports motorcycles, for example, have a high power-to-weight ratio, and according to the IIHS 2021 report, they have the highest fatality rates among all the other motorbikes.

The same 2021 IIHS report also shows that motorcycles with 1,000 CC or less engine displacement were involved in more fatal accidents than motorbikes with engines between 1,000 CC and 1,400 CC.

However, motorcycles with engine size greater than 1,400 CC again shows a surge in fatal motorcycle accidents. This doesn't mean that motorbikes with 1,000 CC to 1,400 CC engines are safer.

In fact, manufacturers are making fewer motorcycles in this category, which is why the number of fatal accidents associated with this type of motorbike is lower.

All Motorcycles Have a Higher Risk of Injuries or Fatalities

According to different statistics, motorcycles are more likely to cause injuries or fatalities when compared to other types of motor vehicles.

The data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motorcycle riders are at a greater risk (58.33 per 100,000 registered motorcycles) of suffering fatal injuries than passenger cars (9.42 per 100,000 registered vehicles) or light truck occupants (6.8 per 100,000 registered vehicles).

When looking at per-vehicle miles traveled, motorcycle riders tend to experience fatal injuries at a rate that is 33 times above the average rate of other vehicles.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Crashes in Texas?

According to NHTSA, the following are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the United States, including Texas:

  • Speeding

  • Improper left-hand turns

  • Right of way violations

  • DUI

  • Changing lanes

  • Distracted driving

  • Road hazards

  • Poor weather conditions

Although a high power-to-weight ratio may play a contributing factor in the total motorcycle accident fatalities in the country, negligence is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents in the US.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

When a motorcycle crash happens, it could lead to serious injuries, some of which include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Lower-extremity injuries

  • Internal injuries

  • Road rash

  • Cuts, lacerations, and bruises

What Should an Injured Victim Do after Their Motorcycle Crash?

What Should an Injured Victim Do after Their Motorcycle Crash?

The following are the steps an injured rider should take after their motorcycle accident to protect themselves and their personal injury case:

  • Move the motorcycle to the side of the road to avoid further accidents.

  • Contact 911 to send medical help if the injuries are severe. Alternatively, injured riders can ask others for assistance.

  • If the injured victim can move around safely, they should exchange insurance details and contact information with the other parties involved.

  • It's best to start gathering evidence at the accident scene. Injured riders should take photographs of the injuries, damage to the motorcycle, skid marks on the road, and nearby road signs.

  • Receive medical help and follow the doctor's treatment plan.

  • Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help recover the damages.

Serious motorcycle accident injuries could affect the victim physically and mentally. It can also lead to financial hardships from medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help protect the injured victim's rights by aggressively pursuing the compensation they deserve. They can both advise on what to do after a road rage car accident.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Are Ready to Go to War for the Injured Riders!

Although protective gear can minimize the risk of serious injuries, motorcycle accidents can still have a devastating impact on the rider. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have extensive experience helping motorcycle accident victims in Houston, Texas. They can go over the benefits of wearing motorcycle protective gear as well.

Those who have suffered injuries or have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash should call to schedule a free consultation with the skilled personal injury lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can help assess the facts surrounding the motorcycle accident case and hold the negligent party accountable for their loss.


bottom of page