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Riding a motorcycle is how many times more dangerous than a car?

As a motorcyclist, you know that riding your bike is more dangerous than driving in a car. Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous, even when you’re a good driver, because they don’t offer much protection. When someone else causes an accident that you can’t avoid, you could be seriously injured or even killed much more easily than in another type of vehicle.

But do you know just how much more dangerous a bike really is? Two times? Three times? Could you actually have four times the odds of passing away in a crash? You may be surprised to learn just how high the risks really are.

Fatalities per mile driven

On the whole, cars often appear more dangerous, when looking at the stats. For instance, you may have heard that between 36,000 and 40,000 people usually pass away annually in all auto accidents. Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that just over 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2019. That’s eight times fewer deaths, which seems to suggest that motorcycles are actually fairly safe.

The problem is clear, though, if you simply count how many cars you see on the road and compare it with how many motorcycles you see. There are vastly more cars and trucks, and their drivers cover far more miles. Therefore, the only way to really compare the level of risk is to see how many people lost their lives in cars per mile driven, and then you can compare that to how many motorcyclists passed away. This evens the statistics up nicely.

When you do it, though, you’ll find that motorcycle fatalities happen 27 times as often as fatalities in other vehicles. That’s not a typo, unfortunately. Double or triple the risk would be concerning enough, but 27 times is astounding, especially when you remember that you can’t always protect yourself from other negligent drivers. This stat doesn’t reflect poorly on riders, but on the drivers they share the road with.

Knowing your rights

Riding carries risks. If you get seriously injured or lose a loved one, it’s imperative that you know your rights.