Motorcycle accidents:  Key questions answered. Officially.
Caroline Morris
by Caroline Morris
Director of Serious Injury

17 March 2023

Motorcycle accidents: Key questions answered. Officially.

What are the real dangers for bikers out on the roads? Urban myth and word of mouth are poor guides for motorcyclists looking to gain a clear assessment of the risks they face in order to adapt their riding and stay as safe as possible.

That’s why this blog gives you a few key answers from the latest Department of Transport figures (last updated November 2021) so you can draw your own conclusions and decide on the appropriate precautions for yourself.

Q: Are bikers more at risk than other road users?

A: The facts and figures prove it: motorcyclists are a vulnerable road user group. In 2020, bikers made up just 1% of all motor traffic but comprised 20% of all road deaths.

Q: Are some bikers more at risk than users?

A: Men are much more likely to be involved in accidents while riding their bikes. Between 2015 and 2020 92% of motorcycle casualties were men and only 8% female. The majority of men involved in those accidents were 30 – 39 years of age.

Q: What are the most common factors in accidents?

The stats here underline the importance of good observation and controlled speed. Junctions, for example, demand the highest levels of rider awareness. Within the period covered by the DoT figures, over 70% of injuries happened at or within 20 metres of a junction (33.9% seriously injured, 37.3% slightly injured.) The most common contributory factor allocated to motorcyclists in fatal or serious accidents (FSA) with another vehicle was ‘driver or rider failed to look properly.’ The second most common contributory factor was that the ‘driver or rider failed to judge other person’s path or speed’.

Q: What’s the split between fatal and non-fatal accidents?

A: In 2020, 285 motorcyclists were killed in Great Britain, whilst 4,429 were reported to be seriously injured (adjusted) and 8,890 slightly injured (adjusted).

Q. Which other vehicles represent the biggest risk for bikers?

A: The updated figures show the highest proportion of fatal casualties happened in 2-vehicle accidents involving an HGV (8.3%). The second highest proportion (5.8%) occurred in accidents when 2 or more other vehicles were involved.

Q. Which roads see most accidents?

A. Between 2015 and 2020, 66% of motorcycle fatalities occurred on rural roads compared to 41% in traffic. The proportion of slight injuries and all casualties on rural roads, however, were lower than the proportion of traffic. The rate of fatalities on motorways (3%) was lower than traffic (7%). The rates of non-fatal injuries were lower still.

Q. How does risk vary by time of day?

A. The risk of motorcyclists being involved in a collision varies not just by time of day but also by day of the week. The peak time for a collision during the week (Mon-Fri) is 4 pm - 7 pm. By Saturday and Sunday, the peak time is from 12 pm-4 pm.

None of this information should cause undue alarm or distress. Forewarned is forearmed: knowing exactly what the quantifiable risk factors are in a given situation means you can review your state of readiness and make adjustments if required.

In addition, you can count on BIKER SOS if you unfortunately find that you’re adding to those statistics following a collision. Our specialist motorcycle incident service benefits from the on-the-road experience of bikers in our own team. Call us on 0330 013 0251 or contact us and we’ll talk everything through there and then or give you a call back at a time that works better for you. We’ll do everything we can to help, give you our best advice, and we won’t get paid unless your claim is successful. 

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