Statistics can help South Carolina motorists in understanding the risks for motorcyclists as they operate on the state’s roads. Although both deaths and injuries in motorcycle accidents throughout the nation declined by more than 5 percent between 2012 and 2013, the risk of death for a motorcyclist involved in a wreck is more than 20 times higher than for an individual riding in a passenger car, using the metric of vehicle miles traveled. With the number of motorcyclists on the nation’s roads increasing annually, safety is a huge concern.

It is important to clearly recognize that a motorcycle’s design makes it less durable in a crash than a passenger vehicle. Additionally, the risk of motorcycle-related car accidents is high because of limited visibility. Motorcycles also tend to be less stable than passenger vehicles, a factor that can contribute to accidents.

Motorcycle riders most at risk of being killed in an accident tend to be older individuals, especially those over the age of 40. Statistically, the death rate for this group increased by 10 percent between 2003 and 2012. This may be due to the fact that the injuries suffered by older riders are much more serious than those affecting younger motorcyclists. Other factors to consider in evaluating motorcycle safety include high speeds and the use of alcohol. Excessive BAC was an issue in 27 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2012, while excessive speed was a problem in 34 percent of motorcycle deaths.

The severe nature of injuries resulting to a motorcyclist who is involved in an accident can lead to long recovery periods. In a case resulting from the negligent driving of another motorist, an injured motorcyclist might seek damages through the filing of a personal injury action against the responsible party.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Motorcycle Crashes”, February 2015