DEMOGRAPHICS

Two distinct peaks can be observed when examining motorcycle operator fatalities by age group. First, from 2015 to 2020, operator fatalities were most common among those age 20-29. Young motorcyclists tend to have less experience and are more likely to engage in risky riding behaviors than their older counterparts. A second peak exists for operators in the 50-59 age group. This may be associated with a trend of returning riders, as middle-aged adults are sometimes known to return to motorcycling once their children leave home, often with diminished riding skills due to lack of practice. Additionally, according to an observational survey conducted in 2017, female riders represent about 10% of all motorcyclists in Florida. However, as shown, they account for a much smaller proportion of operator fatalities (less than 4%).  

Risk Factors

Several common risk factors have been identified for riders involved in a fatal motorcycle crash, with speeding representing one such concern, particularly among younger age groups. In 2020, nearly one-third of operators under age 30 were found to be exceeding the speed limit by 20+ mph prior to a fatal crash.

 

Another major contributing factor to motorcycle fatalities is impairment by drugs and/or alcohol. Over the past six years, on average, riders between the ages of 30 and 49 were the most likely to be under the influence of one or more intoxicants leading up to a fatal crash.

 

In 2020, only 35% of riders between the ages of 50 and 64 were found to be wearing a helmet in a fatal motorcycle crash. Young riders had the highest rate of usage (70%), as compared to those between the ages of 30 and 49 (46%) and those age 65 or more (38%).  

 

Another risk factor for motorcycle fatalities is riding without an endorsement, which is more common among younger age groups. Fatalities involving an unendorsed rider were especially prevalent during 2020, which may be related to the impact of COVID-19, as obtaining proper credentials was more difficult during government-mandated lockdowns.