Motorcycle Crash Statistics for Washington State

We all know that motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and crash fatalities. But what does the data actually show? This post will look at motorcycle crash statistics for Washington State. Also, we’ll share steps Washington is taking to reduce those numbers and bring awareness to motorcycle safety.

And before we get further, we wanted to let you know that our team of motorcycle accident attorneys is here to talk if you need any help after an accident.

Motorcycle Crash Trends for Washington

The total number of motorcycle crashes has declined slightly in recent years. Unfortunately, motorcycle crash fatalities and serious injuries rose in 2019 and 2020. In fact, we haven’t seen these many fatalities since 1982.

Here are some other notable crash trends, compiled from Target Zero and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission:

  • 1 in 5 motorcycle crashes ends in a fatality
  • Speeding and impairment are often factors in motorcycle crash fatalities
  • About 75 motorcyclists are killed every year
  • 91% of motorcyclists killed are male

Sadly, there has been no major shift in these numbers in more than a decade.

How Many Motorcycle Crashes Happen in Washington?

The table below depicts how many motorcycle crashes happen in Washington.

YearTotal CrashesFatalSuspected Serious InjurySuspected Minor Injury
20152,42873383841
20162,26580362738
20172,12480376637
20182,13877375647
20191,99192398538
20201,65891385515
2021*1,53077435461

*As of 12/3/2021. 

Data collected from WSDOT.

How Do Our Numbers Compare to the US?

Nationwide, motorcycle fatalities decreased slightly from 2018 to 2019, whereas our State saw an increase. In Washington, motorcyclists make up 14% of all traffic-related fatalities. This is the same percentage we see across the country.

What’s working well is our state-wide helmet lawIn 2019, of all the motorcyclists killed across the US, 37% weren’t wearing helmets. That same year, in Washington? Only 2% of motorcyclists killed weren’t wearing one. The data shows that states that have universal helmet laws (like ours) result in fewer fatalities than states that’d don’t.

(Read more about this topic on our post How Many Lives are Saved When Motorcyclists Wear Helmets?)

What is Washington Doing about Motorcycle Fatalities?

In 2000, Washington created a bold plan called Target Zero. The singular goal is to reduce all traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2030. As they explain: “Everyone in Washington State should be able to travel on our roadways without fear of being killed or seriously hurt.”

Given the high number of motorcycle crash fatalities, it’s no wonder that this is an area of focus for Target Zero. The image below comes from their July 2021 campaign.

Drivers can help prevent motorcycle crashes

At its core, Target Zero starts with data and lots of it. From there, they set priorities and identify opportunities for crash reduction. Tactics could include safe roadway design, licensing best practices, and campaigns that influence driver behavior.

Steps Motorcyclists Can Take to Prevent Crashes

It’s a myth that drivers cause most motorcycle accidents. Actually, the opposite is true. According to the Washington Department of Licensing, 75% of riders are at least partially responsible for their crash. Given that, what things can you do to ensure your safety?

  • Always wear a helmet (it’s the law!)
  • Participate in motorcycle groups that encourage a culture of safety
  • Keep up on your skills – or take additional classes
  • Avoid risky behaviors such as speeding

Also, make sure to check out itsafineline.com, a website run by motorcycle advocates working to achieve Target Zero. Here, you’ll find news, videos, and resources throughout Washington State.

Where to Turn after a Motorcycle Crash

What happens if you have been injured in a motorcycle collision due to a driver’s fault? Please, give our team at Ladenburg Law a call. We have decades of combined experience helping victims throughout Washington State win fair settlements. Plus, there’s no cost for a case review.

Call us today so we can answer all the questions you have.

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