Riding a Motorcycle Is Really Dangerous, Data Shows

 (Flickr user Luca Pascotto)

Motorcycle 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.

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

  • 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.

This story was originally published by STAT, an online publication of Boston Globe Media that covers health, medicine, and scientific discovery.

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