Performing Data Analysis


The new NMI Fatality Reporting System: Please click here to go to the all new website designed to provide MotorcycLIST Fatality and Fatal MotorcycLE Crash statistics and analysis. Please share this link!


Crashed Motorcycle

“We are not taking a side on an issue.  We share information that is factual.  The truth does not have sides.”  NMI

Data and Statistics Sources:
Fatalities-> NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
Miles-Traveled-> Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Population-> US Census Bureau


Measuring Danger:
Tables explaining the Four Danger Measures Driver Danger has to do with “Exposure” and Societal Danger has to do with “Participation.”

Motorcyclist Danger is per Motorcyclist (Person) Miles-Traveled.
Motorcycle Driver Danger is per Vehicle (Motorcycle) Miles-Traveled. (One Driver per Vehicle, for now.)
Motorcycle Societal Danger, DangerOmeter! is Motorcycle Crash Fatalities (everybody killed) per Population (everybody), and understanding and managing Societal Danger is a proper goal of government.


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Motorcycle Driver Crash Image

The one fact you must know before you decide to operate a motorcycle on public roadways: In fatal motorcycle crashes, the motorcycle is almost always the striking vehicle. In 40% of the crashes the motorcycle was the ONLY vehicle.

Motorcycle Crash Fatalities, Striking Vehicle .pdf   or .jpg Format


*DATA SET 1: Occupant (Motorcyclists) Fatalities: Persons in or on a Vehicle-in-Transport

1A: Current Motorcyclist Fatality Data: 5,286 motorcyclists were fatally injured in 2016.

2016 Motorcyclist Fatality Data Button

2016 Motorcyclist Fatalities, by Motorcycle-Type .pdf   or .jpg Format

2016 Motorcyclist Fatalities, by State Alphabetical, with 5 Year Average Comparison.   or Page 1 .jpg Format   and Page 2 .jpg Format

2016 Motorcyclist Fatalities, Endorsement Compliance and License Status of Motorcycle Driver Invovled in the Crash Almost all motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes had a motorcycle endorsement.   or .jpg Format

A Proper FARS Query: 2015 USA
Motorcycle Driver Status and Endorsement Compliance
When Motorcyclist (Driver or Passenger) was Fatality Injured

Compare two-vehicle crashes by vehicle types


1B. Historical Charts and Tables, Occupant (Motorcyclist) Fatalities:

Chart of Historical USA Motorcyclists Fatalities
5-Year Average 2012-2016: Annual USA Motorcyclist Fatalities by Person and Motorcycle Type .pdf   or .jpg Format


USA Motorcyclist Fatalities, Historical Chart 1991-Current .pdf   or .jpg Format

USA Motorcyclist (Motorcycle Occupant) Fatalities, Historical Table 1991-Current, by State


Comparison Group:

USA Motorist (Passenger Vehicle Occupant) Fatalities, Historical Table 1991-Current, by State


1C: Motorcyclists and Motorcycle Driver Danger:

Table of Current Motorcycle Driver Danger, 5 year average

5 Year Average: Over the last 5 years, it has been an astounding 38 times more dangerous to drive a motorcycle than a car!

Note: Currently both cars and motorcycles carry the same number of drivers.

Historical Charts, Motorcycle Driver Fatalities as a Percentage of Motorcycle + Passenger Vehicle Driver Fatalities

Historical Charts, Licensed/Endorsed Motorcycle Driver Fatalities as a ratio of Motorcycle and Passenger Vehicle Driver Fatalities

Comparing Motorcycle and Truck Driver Danger

Comparing Motorcycle and All Drivers, Any Vehicle Body Type Relative Danger

Comparing Motorcycle and Bus Occupant Danger

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*DATA SET 2: Crash Fatalities: Includes Every Person (Everybody) fatally injured, who was and was not riding in or on a Vehicle-In-Transport. This includes Drivers, Passengers, Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and every other person fatally injured in crashes on public roads.

2A: Current Motorcycle Crash (Everybody) Fatalities:

For 2016, in crashes involving one or more motorcycles:

5,384 persons were fatally injured in crashes involving one or more motorcycles

5,286 were motorcyclists

4,950 were motorcycle drivers

336    were motorcycle passengers

98     were not on a motorcycle-in-transport (such as pedestrians killed by motorcycle strike).


2B: Historical Charts and Tables, Crash (Everybody) Fatalities:

Historical USA Societal Danger Chart for Motorcycles, Passenger Vehicles, and the USA DangerOmeter (by year, no averaging)

USA Motorcycle Crash Fatalities, Historical Table 1991-Current, by State All person (Occupants and Non-occupants) killed in crashes that involved one or more motorcycles.

Comparison Groups:
USA Passenger Vehicle Crash Fatalities, Historical Table 1991-Current, by State All person (Occupants and Non-occupants) killed in crashes that involved one or more passenger vehicles.

Historical Charts, Ratio of Motorcycle Crash Fatalities to Passenger Vehicle Fatalites


2C: DangerOmeter! Measuring Societal Danger:

Picture of the DangerOmeter

By considering Fatalities (Everybody) and Population, we can make scientific comparisons between states. We can rank the states by motorcycle danger weighted with the states’ passenger vehicle danger. In other words, we expect that if a state has a “culture of safety” such as a good road system that reduces collisions between all vehicles, that state should have a lower motorcycle collision rate as well. This can be measured. We call it the NMI DangerOmeter.

2016 DangerOmeter   or Page 1 .jpg Format   and Page 2 .jpg Format

2015 DangerOmeter

2016 DangerOmeter Sorted By Passenger Vehicle Danger

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For a summary of the limitations of the data bases, please see this slide stack: Summary Presentation for understanding and translating your terms to FARS

  1. Why does NMI historical data start with the year 1991, and not earlier?
NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) is the most complete database of motor vehicle fatalities available. The rules for data are defined by the FARS Encyclopedia and manuals, which occasionally are revised in response to changing technology and social pressures. In 1991, FARS changed the definitions for Motorcycles and for Passenger Vehicles. The 1991 revision makes it very cumbersome to compare current data to pre-1991 data. Fortunately, 1991-2016 is enough time (25 years) to detect trends. Because of revisions of the definitions in the FARS query elements, such as the 1991 revision for vehicle body-types, we caution readers against looking for trends in motorcycle fatality data going back farther than 1991. Please see this FARS Manual Table for reference.

1993 is an important start date for license compliance versus license status comparisons. FARS began recording License compliance for motorcycle drivers in 1988. A major revision was implemented in 1993. This is why we start with 1993 data for any charts or tables that involve license compliance. In 2004 there was an additional major refinement to be aware in the license compliance area. Please see this FARS element definition for License Status (D7) and License Compliance (D10).

  2. Latest FARS Release is 2016 ARF 2015 FINAL (Released October 2016). 2017 data will be published in FARS by December 2018. The latest VMT data is 2015 (Released summer 2017). 2016 VMT data will be published by FHWA in spring of 2018.

  3. Why does NMI use the Passenger Vehicle Data as a comparison group for historical comparisons instead of Registrations or Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)? In 2011 NHTSA changed the way registrations and VMT were calculated. NHTSA and the FARS Encyclopedia give explicit warning not to make historical comparisons between pre 2011 and post 2011. There are other concerns we have with historical registration data, however, we have a high confidence in the veracity of all the fatality data counts for passenger vehicle crashes and motorcycle crashes. Please see this FARS Encyclopedia Warning for reference.

  4. The last major set of changes in the FARS was in 2012. Even the way the FARS data queries are selected were changed. Please scrutinize any queries data before 2012 to be sure of what is being presented. Technology and social changes, and what information is reported to NHTSA and the FARS, change over the decades. The essence of these changes over time are what create the need to further change and update definitions in the FARS Encyclopedia. For other examples, such as major changes in 1993 and 2004 for the License Status element, please see this FARS element definition for License Status (D7) and License Compliance (D10).

  5. Definitions:
Source: Queries of 2015 (ARF) NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) September 2016 Release

Motorcycles = Vehicle Body Type 80-89 = NHTSA Motorcycles
Passenger Vehicles

Definition Explanation: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data base is used for all fatality counts. A request for a particular data set from the data base is called a query. The query element “Person Type” refers to all persons riding within or upon a vehicle. NHTSA uses the term “Motorcyclists” to refer to persons who are “Passengers and Drivers (or all Occupants) riding upon the motorcycle-in-transport.” When discussing fatality data, we suggest, using the terms, “Motorcycle Driver” and “Motorcycle Passenger,” instead of the ambiguous term “Motorcyclist.” While discussing fatality data, using terms that correspond to the FARS query elements will make it clear which persons are being counted: drivers, passengers, or occupants, on or in the vehicle-in-transport. Then direct comparisons of motorcycle to passenger vehicle data (drivers, passengers, occupants, and all-fatalities counts) will be clearly understandable. For more definitions and explanation of terms, please see: Definition of Terms on our Science Page.

Examples to disqualify the term “Rider” from motorcycle crash fatally data comparisons:
1. “The rider riding behind the RIDER is not a rider.”
2. “The RIDER fatally data should not be compared to rider fatality data from buses.”


“We are not taking a side on an issue.  We share information that is factual.  The truth does not have sides.”  NMI


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