A motorcycle is essentially just a powered bicycle that has a vastly higher top-end speed. Does that automatically make it more dangerous? When looking at fatal accidents, do more people die while riding motorcycles or while riding bicycles?
Let’s compare some statistics. First of all, we tend to lose about 5,000 people every year in motorcycle accidents. The specific total for 2017 was 5,172. The year before it was 5,337. This is far fewer than the roughly 40,000 who die in all automobile accidents in the United States annually, but it is still a substantial number that averages out to more than 100 people per state, per year.
In 2018, a mere 857 people died in bicycle crashes. It is clear from the deaths alone that motorcycles are far more dangerous.
One thing to consider, though, is that almost all of your risk on a bicycle comes from other drivers. While cyclists do get injured and even die in crashes by themselves, they’re likely not traveling more than 20 miles per hour and will often survive these lone crashes. The greatest risk of death is when a driver makes a mistake and hits them.
Motorcyclists, on the other hand, have far greater odds of dying in a single-vehicle crash due to their higher speed. They don’t have much more protection than a cyclist, but they may be traveling at 60 or 70 miles per hour.
Of course, the lack of protection also makes them very vulnerable to mistakes by others, as does their speed. A cyclist may be able to swerve or even stop to avoid a crash, while a motorcyclist will not.
Those who lose loved ones may have a right to compensation.