As exhilarating as it can be to take your bike for a joy ride, there’s no denying the dangers involved. First of all, there are fewer safety protections for motorcyclists than for the drivers of traditional automobiles. Motorcycles are also smaller, making them harder to see and more likely to take the brunt of the impact in any motorcycle-car accident.
All methods of travel involve risk, but that doesn’t mean that the risk is equally divided everywhere. The statistics from 2014-2015 show that some states are far more deadly than others for motorcyclists..
In 2015, the ten deadliest states for motorcyclists were:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- New York
It’s a tragedy when any biker gets hurt on the road. That’s why we suggest slowing down and checking your mirrors a little more often when driving through these states.
Because we’re concerned about the facts this data reveals, we pulled a few examples from the top ten for closer examination.
In 2015, we learned that the motorcycle fatality rate in Florida had risen drastically. During 2014, there were 450 motorcycle deaths counted there. By 2015, there were 550!
As a major motorcycle region, it’s not surprising that there were a lot of motorcycle fatalities in Florida. What’s alarming is the size of the year-to-year increase (over 20%) and its disproportionate deadliness. During the year in question, California had over 840,000 registered motorcycles to Florida’s 582,000. Still, more bikers died in Florida than the much bigger California.
Florida is a beautiful state with a great highway system and an excellent climate. Riding there is a whole lot of fun, but you need to be safe. Clearly, there is something bad happening in the Sunshine State. Be careful.
Everything’s bigger in Texas – almost. The death count among motorcyclists was third highest in the country during the year 2015.
When it comes to the motorcycle death rate, Texas’ numbers were almost stagnant between 2014 and 2015. With an increase of only four deaths, Texas did not experience the same disheartening jump that Florida did. There were only 455 motorcycle deaths in Texas in 2015.
As a big state with a wide array of geographic vistas to drive through, Texas will continue to be a big draw for motorcyclists. Drive safely.
There was only a 2% increase in motorcycle fatalities in North Carolina during 2015. Still, that was enough to land them in the #4 spot.
The northern of the two Carolinas saw 185 biker deaths in 2015. Although it is a much lower death count overall, the motorcycle death rate there is much higher than in Florida or Texas because the general population is so much smaller.
Maybe there is a disproportionate amount of motorcycle traffic in North Carolina because motorcyclists are trekking to the Tail of the Dragon, an epic 11-mile section of wooded switchbacks that draws in bikers and sports car enthusiasts each year.
Even with Florida’s huge 100-death increase, Michigan might be the most worrisome state in the top ten. In 2015, the state saw a 23% rise in motorcycle deaths, climbing to 138 fatalities from 112.
So why is this number so notable, when Florida, California, and Texas all have death counts over 450? It comes down to weather.
Motorcycle accidents ought to be much, much lower in a place like Michigan, where extreme and long-lasting cold weather keeps bikes in the garage for months at a time. They don’t have the benefit of Florida’s climate, where every month is motorcycle season.
When you realize that the “in” season for motorcycles is so much smaller in Michigan, it becomes clear that the motorcycle death rate on days suitable for riding is much higher than in other states.
Motorcycle deaths have recently gone up in 31 states across the country, and they’re not always the ones you expect. When riding, be smart and be safe – no matter where you are.