Motorcyclists have little protection compared to occupants of other motor vehicles. This is likely one of the reasons a staggering 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, while the same is true for just 20% of car crashes.

In Oklahoma, officials continue to stress the importance of motorcycle safety awareness. This is particularly important for drivers of other vehicles, whose actions can result in a life-changing collision.

A look at the numbers

Just how dangerous might a crash be for a motorcycle operator or passenger? Data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office gives us some insight into wrecks involving more than one vehicle.

In 2017 and 2018, there were a total of 1,493 motorcyclists (drivers and passengers) in crashes that involved at least one other vehicle. Of those, 849 were confirmed to have suffered some type of injury. That includes:

  • 105 fatal injuries
  • 298 incapacitating injuries
  • 446 injuries deemed “non-incapacitating”

An incapacitating injury is a life-changing event. It refers to an injury that results in the victim no longer being able to walk, drive, or return to the same level of activity they had prior to the crash. These individuals likely require long-term medical care and associated costs.

A non-incapacitating injury can also be quite serious. This refers to an injury that is obvious to any observer at the scene of the wreck. A fractured bone, for example, may qualify.

In addition to the figures above, there were 307 motorcycle riders with possible injuries. That means the injury was not necessarily obvious to an outsider, but the victim reported they were hurt. These can still be serious. Some injuries, such as whiplash, can have long-lasting effects despite not being obvious in the immediate aftermath of a crash.

Most motorcycle crashes result in injuries

One more figure can offer some perspective. Of those 1,493 motorcycle operators and passengers involved in multi-vehicle crashes, just 276 escaped with no reported injuries.

This underscores an important point: Most motorcyclists involved in a multi-vehicle crash will be hurt. Many will require medical treatment. Some will lose their life entirely or face a difficult new reality going forward. When these types of outcomes are the result of another individual’s negligent actions, there may be a way to seek real accountability.