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otorcycle crashes are alarmingly common — and incredibly costly, according to a new study.

Researchers pulled data from adults treated for motorcycle and car crash injuries at hospitals in Ontario, Canada, between 2007 and 2013. The toll: nearly 282,000 adults injured in car accidents and nearly 27,000 in motorcycle crashes during that time frame.

Megan Thielking/STAT Source: Direct medical costs of motorcycle crashes
in Ontario. CMAJ, November 20, 2017.

Here’s a deeper look at the analysis, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal:

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  • Motorcycle accidents are far more common than car accidents, relatively speaking. There were 2,194 motorcycle injuries each year per 100,000 registered motorcycles. That’s triple the rate of automobile injury.
  • Those injuries were far more serious. There were 125 severe injuries each year per 100,000 motorcycles, compared to just 12 severe injuries per 100,000 cars. People injured in motorcycle accidents were much more likely than those injured in car crashes to be hospitalized. They were also more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
  • Motorcycle crashes are more often deadly. There were 14 deaths per year for every 100,000 motorcycles, compared to three deaths per 100,000 cars.
  • The mean cost of a motorcycle injury was $5,825. The mean cost of an automobile accident was $2,995.
  • Those numbers might be underestimating the costs. The study only followed people for 30 days after they were treated for an injury, which means the numbers don’t take rehabilitation or other types of continuing care into account. The study’s authors say they hope their findings will push manufacturers and policymakers to improve motorcycle safety.

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  • Absolutely correct!! I’m a part time attending at a major us trauma center and an owner of motorcycles and mopeds. The Carnage to motorcyclists is absolutely insane. At this point I prefer wrenching on my bikes way more than needing to share the road with the now typical car and truck driver. The dream state of finding open road to enjoy the wind in your face is in actuality beyond rare. I mostly go mountain biking because trees don’t usually hit me, the reverse is way more likely.

    I often ask the victims who aren’t intubated and sedated just what happened and the usual response is someone ran a stop sign near their house. The freeway crashes are more often fatal so we never get those to the preop area or on their ICU bed in the hallway accompanied by rt and nursing.

  • That’s a good point about the causes of motorcycle crashes, but I don’t think the article is trying to be anti-motorcycle. The data here are agnostic of the accidents cause. The only conclusion that I see is that you’re more likely to be in an accident/have more serious injuries on a motorcycle. The author doesn’t suggest that these accidents are the riders fault, and I’m sure there’s a fair amount of those accidents caused by careless drivers in cars.

  • What the article fails to address is the number of car/truck vs motorcycle accidents and the number of car/truck drivers who are at fault. It’s easy to make damning statements without diving further into such facts as this article does. It’s true there are some cowboys on bikes that are accidents waiting to happen but in almost all of the close calls I’ve had while riding involved car drivers who were oblivious to a motorcycle being near them (I once went down due to mechanical failure). Calling, texting or other distractions are major problems.

    • I think the fault or faultless status of the motorcycle driver is not the point. I often make the case that the motorcycle driver is even more at risk, because minor accidents which occur, despite their diligent driving (riding) skills, are more likely to end up leading to serious injuries than if they were in a car.
      Minor fender-bender at a stop sign usually leads to the exchange of insurance info between car drivers. When a motorcyclist gets bumped from behind and sent out onto the pavement, a splenectomy (or worse) is not an unusual possible outcome. Working at a trauma center, I see this all the time. Minor events lead to big time injuries.

    • I don’t think so, just by looking at the road layout/construction. I would say this is Australia or South Africa, plus it looks too dry to be England. English road signs for places are also not blue like that.

      Indeed, if that sign says ‘Meckering’, then it’s Western Australia apparently.

  • There are 10x more car crashes but motorcycle crashes are far more common than cars. Bravo for ignoring your own articles stats.

    • Try reading the article and using statistics. Yes, overall there are more car accidents than motorcycles. But relatively speaking there are more motorcycle accidents per motorcycle, more serious injuries, more death, and higher costs:
      “Motorcycle accidents are far more common than car accidents, relatively speaking. There were 2,194 motorcycle injuries each year per 100,000 registered motorcycles. That’s triple the rate of automobile injury.
      Those injuries were far more serious. There were 125 severe injuries each year per 100,000 motorcycles, compared to just 12 severe injuries per 100,000 cars. People injured in motorcycle accidents were much more likely than those injured in car crashes to be hospitalized. They were also more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
      Motorcycle crashes are more often deadly. There were 14 deaths per year for every 100,000 motorcycles, compared to three deaths per 100,000 cars.
      The mean cost of a motorcycle injury was $5,825. The mean cost of an automobile accident was $2,995.”

    • Your reading comprehension is lacking…

      “Motorcycle accidents are far more common than car accidents, relatively speaking”.

      Those last two words are very important.

    • Yes, those last two words, “Relatively speaking” are important. Not as to the context of the article but as to the cherry picking of stats to push an opinion.

      In car vs motorcycle accidents are those being listed as car or as motorcycle accidents? The article doesn’t say. Using stats from where I am between 3/4 and 4/5 of such meetings are the fault of the vehicle. Of those 82% the last time I looked were side impact incidents. In other words a car pulling out into traffic in front of a bike. Raising the issue of increasing motorcycle awareness among vehicle drivers is a positive solution. The author instead implies that we should keep on texting and motorcycles are just dangerous.

      For the medical costs, again, just cherry picking. What is the total cost? The article doesn’t say. When you look at medical, property and vehicle/bike costs then she couldn’t push the narrative that motorcycle crashes cost twice as much.

      Proof is in the pudding. Insurance doesn’t charge real money for coverage based on biased opinions but on the bottom line. Insuring my motorcycle fully, everything you can think of from hospital helicopter to vandalism to full coverage of a passenger for an entire year is 1/5th the cost of ONLY liability on my car.

      Tell me again how motorcycles are so much more costly?

      The author, who obviously doesn’t ride, typed up a hit piece against motorcycles. The final point would be the picture. Some 1% riders in an accident instead of Mrs. BMW Dentist sitting on a curb next to her bike.

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