Fatality risk in motorcycle collisions with roadside objects in the United States

Accid Anal Prev. 2011 May;43(3):1167-70. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.12.027. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Motorcycle crashes with roadside objects often involve more than one impact event: typically involving a collision with the ground and another object. The objective of this study was to determine the fatality risk in these roadside object collisions when compared with crashes only involving a collision with the ground. The roadside objects analyzed included guardrails, concrete barriers, signs, utility poles, and trees. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database was used in conjunction with the General Estimates System (GES) to analyze fatality risk for motorcycle crashes from 2004 to 2008. The analysis was based upon over 3600 fatal motorcycle crashes with roadside objects. Collisions with roadside objects were found to have a higher fatality risk than collisions with either the ground or another motor vehicle. Based on the most harmful event reported in the crash, motorcycle collisions with guardrail were 7 times more likely to be fatal than collisions with the ground, and collisions with trees were almost 15 times more likely to be fatal than collisions with the ground. Additionally, the roadside object was reported as the most harmful event in the majority of the crashes in fatal two-event crashes involving a roadside object and a collision with the ground, with the exception of collisions with signage. From these analyses it was concluded that collisions with fixed objects are more harmful to motorcyclists than collisions with the ground.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Environment Design*
  • Humans
  • Motorcycles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*