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28 Aug 2012

Correlation Between Type Of Motorcycle & Frequency Of Crashes

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Any motorcycle rider knows that their choices on the road are what can keep them safe. However, what about the choice they make when buying a bike? There are statistics that link the type of motorcycle to higher crash rates and deaths. Are the bikes to blame or is it just a case of bad choices on the road?

Sport Bikes. A recipe for disaster?

According to the Institute of Highway Safety (HIS), the motorcycles that are in the most crashes and have the most fatalities are the sport and supersport models. These models do have enhanced capabilities as far as horsepower and speed is concerned. They are also popular with younger riders, who may be less experienced to handle the extra horsepower these bikes have. The statistics speak for themselves.

In motorcycle fatality crashes, the rates differ greatly depending on the bike you ride.

  • Cruise. 5.7 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles
  • Touring. 6.5 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles
  • Sport. 10.7 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles
  • Supersport. 22.5 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles

Sport and Supersports almost double and quadruple the amount of cruise deaths, so it is easy to see where someone could link the bike with the result. However, the type is not the only factor.

Skill and Behavior of Operator

When looking at what caused these fatalities, speed was a factor. In the supersport fatalities, 57% of theses were related to speed, as were 46% of the sport model fatalities. Other bike models had much lower association with speed, with only 27% for touring or standard bikes, and 22% for cruisers. What the statistics don’t say is the age or skill level of the people involved with each type of bike.

It seems that most motorcycles are capable of doing excess speed and can be at risk for being involved in a serious or even fatal crash. When looking at the correlation between these types of bikes and the overall motorcycle crash statistics, you have to take into consideration the people who are more likely to buy and ride a supersport model. It may be more the age and experience factors than the type of bike they ride. It is important to note the difference.

If licensing and insurance carriers begin looking at types of bikes as more “hazardous” then there may be a stigma attached to the cycles themselves. Any rider knows that the most imminent danger that they can control is often their own ability. Common sense along with skill and knowledge all come into play. Without these, any bike can be dangerous on the road.

Jonathan Rosenfeld is the founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers in Chicago. Jonathan’s office sponsors Chicago Motorcycle Injury Lawyers (www.chicagomotorcycleinjurylawyers.com), a site dedicated to promoting rider safety and education.


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