State Makes Top 10 in Motorcycle Fatalities - TribPapers

State Makes Top 10 in Motorcycle Fatalities

Motorcycles line Weaverville's Bike Note event hosted by Rodney's Auto. Photo by Clint Parker.

North Carolina – Many North Carolinians enjoy riding motorcycles. Who can blame residents for wanting to enjoy a great mountain road from the back of a motorcycle? Still, riding motorcycles is a more inherently dangerous mode of transportation than other forms.

A recent Bike Nite event hosted by Rodney’s Auto in Weaverville showed a strong turnout with motorcycles lining part of North Main Street, but a recent study by QuoteWizard shows that the state is the 10th highest in motorcycle fatalities.

According to the study, 192 motorcycle riders were killed in 2020, with a fatality rate of eight deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycle owners. While the number of deaths has decreased by nearly 10% since 2019, the state remains in the top ten of the 50 states.

The study also found that 70% of motorcycle riders in the state say they wear a helmet while riding, which is slightly higher than the national average. North Carolina does have a law that all motorcycle riders are supposed to wear a helmet. The study also showed that of the state’s 192 motorcycle fatalities, 172 of the victims were wearing their helmets at the time of the accidents, while 18 were not.

“Alcohol was involved in 32% of motorcycle fatalities in 2020. In some cases, the person killed was below the legal limit,” said the study. “However, 26% of fatalities involved someone who was legally intoxicated, and in 15% of cases, the person killed had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level nearly twice the legal limit.”

Analysts of the study also “found that alcohol use while riding was especially prevalent in certain states. Alcohol was involved in 50% of fatal crashes in four northern states. Wyoming, Rhode Island, Montana, and Alaska had the highest numbers of fatal crashes where someone was legally or severely intoxicated.”

“Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas have the highest rate of motorcycle fatalities in the nation. Motorcycle fatalities have increased by 11% since 2019, and by 23% since 2010. Helmet usage declined from 71% to 68% nationwide,” the study found.

“Motorcycle fatalities were calculated using National Highway Transportation Safety Administration traffic safety statistics from 2010 to 2020. The fatality rate was calculated using 2020 fatality numbers per 10,000 registered motorcycles.