Blog | October 10, 2023

A Deep Dive into Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania

Did you know that 176 road accidents in Pennsylvania in 2021 were caused by a motorcycle hitting a deer? Or that over 40% of motorcyclists involved in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania that year were not wearing a helmet?

Those are just some of the details that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) monitors and publishes about motorcycle accidents every year. We take a look at the most recent statistics available for Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents – when they happen, who is involved, and what causes them. All of the data in this article is sourced directly from PennDOT.

Motorcycle safety has become an important focus for PennDOT as motorcycle accidents and motorcycle fatalities steadily increase across the Commonwealth. In 2021, motorcycle fatalities rose to 226, the highest number since 2008, and suspected serious injuries to 3,361. In 2021, almost 20% of all fatal crashes in Pennsylvania involved a motorcycle. 

Hotspots with the highest number of motorcycle accidents were Allegheny, Bucks, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties. 

Motorcycle accident hotspots

Bar chart of motorcycle crashes

What days and months are the most dangerous for motorcycles in Pennsylvania?

Unsurprisingly, more motorcycle accidents happen on Sundays in Pennsylvania than any other day. In 2021, over 20% of motorcycle accidents occurred on a Sunday. Mondays were also a dangerous day on the roads for Pennsylvania motorcyclists.

The least number of motorcycle accidents happen over the winter months in Pennsylvania, probably because there are less motorcycles on the roads during our wintry weather. When the temperatures pick up, the number of motorcycle accidents increase, with well over half of all motorcycle accidents in the state occurring during four months of the Summer.

Most dangerous days and months of motorcycle accidents in PA

How many motorcycle accidents are caused by aggressive drivers?

Motorcyclists have a reputation for aggressive, even reckless, driving. The statistics do not support this at all. PennDOT defines aggressive driving as when at least two actions of one driver were aggressive. Out of 3,582 motorcycle crashes in the Commonwealth in 2021, less than 8% involved an aggressive driver, which includes incidents in which another driver, not the motorcyclist, was driving aggressively. 

In fact, there were 6,226 total vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania in 2021 involving aggressive driving, and only 274 involved a motorcycle at all. Over 95% of aggressive driving incidents were entirely non-motorcycle related. 

Is speeding a major cause of motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania?

Like aggressive driving, motorcyclists have a reputation for speed. However, like aggressive driving, speeding is not a primary cause of motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania. There were 25,958 speed-related crashes in 2021, but only 300 involved a motorcycle. (This number includes crashes in which the other driver, not the motorcyclist, was speeding.)

When speeding is involved, though, a motorcycle crash can be particularly dangerous. Of the 300 speeding-related motorcycle crashes, over half (168) involved a fatality or suspected serious injury. 

Motorcyclists should be especially careful around our big cities. The highest numbers of motorcycle crashes involving speeding were in Philadelphia (24) and Allegheny (33) counties.

Are young drivers involved in a lot of motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania?

Approximately 11% of motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania involve a driver aged 20 years old or younger. PennDOT only reports when a young driver is involved in a motorcycle accident, but does not reveal whether the young driver was riding the motorcycle or another vehicle. The department also tells us that the top 5 counties with the highest numbers of motorcycle crashes involving young people were Allegheny (29), Buck (19), Lancaster (28), Lehigh (22), and Philadelphia (36). 

Tragically, 23 people died in Pennsylvania motorcycle crashes involving young drivers in 2021.

How often is weather a factor in Pennsylvania motorcycle crashes?

Despite our recent mild winter, Pennsylvanians know that weather can cause havoc on our roads. However, it is not a significant factor in motorcycle accidents, possibly because the majority of motorcyclists are on the roads in the warmer, milder months. 

In 2021, only 115 of the total 3,582 motorcycle crashes happened in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. Only 4 motorcycle accidents were reported on icy roads – one in each of Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, and Lancaster counties. Wet roads were a bigger problem with 142 motorcycle accidents occurring on wet roads, especially around our larger metro areas in Allegheny (12) and Philadelphia (14) counties.

How many motorcycle accidents happen at intersections?

Intersections are a dangerous place for any vehicle but can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. The number one type of motorcyclist accident nationwide is a left turn collision at an intersection. In Pennsylvania, 1,375 motorcycle accidents happened at intersections in 2021, almost 40% of all motorcycle accidents in the Commonwealth. The highest intersection accident numbers were reported in Berks (66), Bucks (67), Lehigh (79), Lancaster (87), Allegheny (154), and Philadelphia (185) counties. 

How many Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents are alcohol-related?

Alcohol is a significant factor in motorcycle accidents. According to PennDOT, more drinking drivers involved in accidents were motorcyclists than drivers of any other type of vehicle. (Drinking drivers are any drivers suspected of drinking by police or with a measured BAC level of 0.01 or greater.)

Alcohol-related motorcycle accidents

297 Pennsylvania motorcycle crashes involved drinking motorcyclists, and over half of these involved fatalities (55) or suspected serious injuries (121).

Whether caused by drink-driving, speeding, or other reckless driving, the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can be life-altering. Careful motorcyclists are frequently injured by the negligence of other road users. Even when wearing a helmet, motorcyclists suffer severe and fatal injuries. In 2021, 50% of all motorcyclists killed in a motorcycle accident were wearing a helmet. 

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact one of our Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation at (610) 490-8877. Let us give you the help you deserve.

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