How dangerous is riding a motorcycle?

How dangerous is riding a motorbike? I recently took a look into the statistics around the danger of riding a motorcycle versus say driving a car or having a smoke…’s what I found out…

The HURT Report


I use the following equipment to record and edit my VLOGs:-
GoPro HD Hero cameras – I have the old HD Hero 2 models
Nikon D7100 DSLR for static and video shots with various lenses
Lavalier microphone and sellotape for in helmet audio – £9 from E-Bay
Power Director 8 for the PC for video editing
Lavalier microphone for in garage audio – £20 E-Bay

My current motorcyles are:-
Honda CRF250L
Triumph Street Triple R
Ducati 899 Panigale

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Comment (39)

  1. I hate drivers that try to recklessly pass cyclists and riders quickly not realising that the people on the bikes may panic or lose control. I don't ride but I have seen it endless times and I get worried so I can't imagine how they must feel.

  2. Have you been injured in a motorbike crash? Curious. I had a crash only 200 miles into my first bike, old lady pulled out in front of my doing an illegal u turn. Been off riding for 2 years. Any advice to get back into it? The wife is worried of course lol bitI love it!

  3. The vehicle comparison is misleading because it's solely based on the distance traveled. Whereas looking at the number of trips made, air travel is actually more dangerous than driving. For example, if we could go to the nearest star with a 99% chance of dying along the way, according to this it would be the safest means of travel ever devised by man.

  4. The risk of death per distance travelled is just one way of looking at the statistics.

    When the air travel industry quote deaths per billion kilometres they're using the statistic that suits their purpose.
    An aeroplane flight is a long distance and thus risk per KM or Mile it makes the apparent risk a lot lower.
    Now per trip, or per hour of exposure statistics don't make air travel look as safe as per distance travelled.

    Risk can be measured in 3 main ways .

    (As previously mentioned ), deaths per distance travelled.
    deaths per trip
    deaths per time spent

    There's a nice grid showing this at

    The extreme one is the Space Shuttle. Apparently its only 6.6 deaths per billion Kilometres which makes it sound a lot safer than Motorcycles at 109 deaths per billion Kilometres. Per Kilometre travelled the Space Shuttle is safer than a motorcycle, pedal bike or walking , in fact it's not much worse than a car !
    However on 135 flights of the Space Shuttle there were 2 terrible crashes. So a 1 in 67 chance of not making it back to planet Earth, which makes motorcycles look amazingly safe. A fine example of "damned lies and statistics" 🙂

    I don't think comparing certain modes of transport is really that useful. You're going to take the suitable type of transport for the trip you want to do. So a lot of the time the only choice is "do you really want to take the trip?"

    You don't "walk" the same trip that you'd make in an aeroplane.
    In a boat, well you couldn't even walk, cycle, drive or ride a motorcycle for the same trip (An aeroplane could work)
    You'd use a car or motorcycle for a trip where there isn't a commercial aeroplane route.
    If you want to go into Space to do something, well you need something that has a similar risk profile to that of the Space Shuttle.
    If you want to get a thousand or so miles for a nice sunny holiday, well a commercial jet aeroplane is probably the best way to do most of the trip.

    Motorcycles and cars are obviously directly comparable, and yes cars are safer, but do you want to be in a car all the time, especially when traffic jams are less of an issue than on a motorcycle ?

    If you want to take several passengers or a lot of luggage, well drive a suitable car !

    I do also believe motorcycles attract a more "risk taker" type of person, I'm sure this makes the statistics for them worse.

    Life is full of risks, and personally , I'm still going to be riding an "A" class bike pretty soon, I enjoy riding a motorcycle. Although I'll be avoiding getting 1 litre 200BHP Sports Bike, I still do like living ! A nice Sunday blast on a 65 BHP-ish retro bike at legal speeds will do it for me 🙂

  5. So around 5000 people died on a motorbike in the US per year and how many people actually ride motor bikes in the US? Sounds like a small percentage of deaths.

  6. The really interesting thing to look for in the stats would be to see how many accidents are entirely not the fault of the rider. Its always the way with such stats, x percent down to lack of training, y percent going way to fast for the conditions etc. etc. The real concern is what is the risk leftover that if I do everything correct but still end up wiped out by an idiot.

  7. I think riders themselves make it more dangerous by drinking or smoking as you mentioned, not wearing appropriate protective equipment, riding with a dangerous speed, not having a road strategy and paying better attention while riding, lacking the experience.
    Riding sure is dangerous by there are ways to make it safer !

  8. Good advice, I'm thinking of getting back into motorcycling after a 20 years in a car. I have a full licence, so could just go out and at some 150 hp monster. But I've started CBT course, and will build up slowly on a second hand 125, then buy a 150 hp touring bike. I remember a TV programme about risks a few years ago. Apparently about 20 people die each year coming down the stairs in the morning and 8 people die putting on their socks (suddenly blood clot to the brain)

  9. It would be interesting to know the stats around the type of riding being done, Urban, Suburban, Motorway, Rural, and Off Road. I know all have their elements of danger, but is one more so?

  10. Danger is NOT the issue,

    tormenting pain due to shattered bones.. (and that's least of injures)
    permanent suffering throughout your adult life and all the torment does NOT WORTH
    the fun & joy, no matter how long it last. (-.- trust me!)

  11. Fact. You are twice as likely to die having sex as riding a motorcycle. More than twice as many people in the UK are killed by sexually transmitted diseases each year as they are falling off motorbikes. Even worse, twice as many of us die after falling down stairs than riding a bike.

  12. ive just started riding, im 37, got myself a 125cc honda sh, im finding your videos very useful, thank you, i need to invest in a good jacket, any suggestions?

  13. So the last time I rode a bike was in 1981 (the first twin cam Honda 750) purchased brand new in 1979. I have to admit back then I was nuts on a bike and paid the price with several smaller accidents. But the big one that got me wasn’t my fault (a coach turning right failed to see me on a country A road). Survived it and kissed motorcycles goodbye for ever or so I thought, and I’m now on the lookout for a bike again before it’s too late. The other thing I used to indulge in was smoking and even though I packed in the smokes 20 years ago, I now have severe COPD with 40% lung function. It’s killing me slowly, so I figure why not have some serious fun back on a bike, and if the worst happens it will probably be quick. I fancy a Yamaha tracer 900 GT, and I do know that returning bikers of my vintage are in a high risk group so maybe some refresher training either way keep up the reviews they’ve got my attention👍

  14. One survival strategy that's helped me across my 11 years on two wheels is that no matter what happens on the road, my mood stays the same. I don't get impatient, frustrated or coarse. To make it to your destination safely you often have to forgive others for their mistakes and no matter how stupid they are, you never indulge in street justice, even if it is tempting. Stay in control of your emotions, don't give in to adrenalin and sit back and think. The twats that cause problems for you are going to get themselves in trouble with the law sooner or later – better them than you.

  15. Riding a motorcycle is far safer than a demented wife heading to the lawyers office. In fact, I can think of 100 daily activities or life tasks that can be potentially more dangerous than riding a motorcycle.

  16. It's more risky but none of these studies talk about quality of life. Dying sucks butt, but the thought of it happening at work, bored, passionless, and wasting life away is terrifying and depressing.

  17. I'm an ambivalent rider, and I don't think we can compare smoking to riding a motorcycle, dying on a motorcycle can take you two seconds, dying from smoking takes 50 years. Still very good video, I think it's an important and difficult subject, but comparing it to other motor vehicles is an accurate and representative figure so that was very interesting. Still I'm thinking about riding only track, because I will not accept the risk of dying, and I find it highly uncomfortable riding on the highway, but I don't know if anyone at all investigates track injuries, as they seem to happen daily and depend on the maniacs you ride with

  18. I was a bike courier in London. Apparently at the time it was statistically more dangerous then a deep sea diver on the oil rigs.
    Never had an accident. Saw lots (no fault of mine) the Queen went past once. Que sera. What will be will be.

  19. I've been riding motorcycles for 46 years, some of which was as a courier clocking up 2000 miles a week. As a rough conservative estimate 3/4 of million miles over that time. Based on your chart, I should be dead! Your tips are all good sound advice. A few I would add, make sure your bike is in good condition and do your pre-flight checks, so to speak. On the road, if anyone looks dodgy or drives in an unpredictable way give them a wide birth. If they are tailgating you, get past the next vehicle and let them deal with the nutter. If necessary let them go past, so they can go kill themselves somewhere else without involving you. Wear clothing that aids your visibility, especially when conditions aren't ideal. Bright yellow waterproofs may make you may look like a twit but you'll be a live twit. Finally, the UK Police have a very nice book called "Motorcycle Roadcraft. The Police Rider's Handbook". The copy I've got came with a job lot of bikers stuff off eBay. It has 260 pages of information, pictures and tests that even an old git like me can learn from. It is available from Amazon and old copies can be bought for as little as a 1p. Get one, you have nothing to lose but your life.


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