Although they are the most fuel-efficient class of highway vehicles and can be enjoyable to ride, motorcycles are also the most hazardous of all motor vehicles. Motorcycles are substantially overrepresented in fatal car crashes in the United States, with the death rate per registered motorcycle more than three times that of registered passenger cars. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported nearly 80,000 motorcycle accidents on U.S. roadways in 2003. In New York State alone, there were 4,848 motorcycle accidents in 2001, and 145 of those resulted in fatalities. According to 2005 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,008 motorcycle occupants were killed on American roads in 2004, an 8% increase from 2003. During that same period, drivers of automobiles showed a 10% increase in fatalities, and motorcyclists showed an 8% increase in fatalities. Pedestrians also showed a 10% increase in fatalities. A total of 37,304 automobile occupants were killed on American roads in 2004. Additional data reveals that there are over 4 million motorcyclists registered in the United States, and motorcycle fatalities represent approximately 5% of all highway fatalities each year, even though motorcycles represent just 2% of all registered vehicles in the United States. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. For example, approximately 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, yet the comparable figure for automobiles is about 20%.
Three quarters of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle (most often a passenger automobile).
Mechanical failure accounts for 3% of motorcycle accidents and is most often due to a puncture or flat tire.
Animals are involved in 1% of motorcycle accidents.
Roadway defects are responsible for 2% of motorcycle accidents.
The majority of accidents are caused by the failure of other motorists to see motorcycles in traffic.
Intersections are the most common place for a motorcycle accident.
Weather is a factor in 2% of motorcycle accidents.
Over 50% of motorcycle accidents result in fuel system leaks and spills that create a fire hazard.
The average speed of a motorcycle involved in an accident is less than 30 miles per hour.
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