The Government Accountability Office's (GAO) issued a report on the annual cost of motorcycle crashes in the United States Drawing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other agencies, the report breaks down the costs. Surprisingly, medical expenses accounted for only 18% of the loss. The biggest contributor was "lost market productivity" at 44%. In other words, it's the wages and income lost from the injuries that shadows the cost of medical care.
These numbers from from 2010. There were 95,000 motorcycle accident that year, with 4423 fatalities.
Point: the study found that most of the costs of motorcycle crashes are "borne by society" in the form of medical and insurance payments.
Another point: This study shows you are much more likely (30 times) to die in a motorcycle accident than a car accident. This may sound like a federal study to conclude the obvious, but the numbers put the stark reality in focus.
Another common sense solution: wear a helmet. The best way to avoid a fatality is to enact universal helmet laws. It may not prevent the collision, but it can prevent death. This is certainly a hot button issue with many riders.
This summer, my family and I took a road trip back to Yellowstone. It was about the same time as Sturgis and there were bikers everywhere. It was great to see all the different bikes. However, on the way out, we came upon one serious wreck involving a biker with no helmet. Just a few days later, we heard of another serious accident in Yellowstone National Park. I was talking to an avid rider about my trip later in the summer. He shared his experience while riding in Yellowstone. He rode without a helmet, until he turned a sharp curve to discover a large Bison in the road. The helmet went back on.
Yet Another point: I am helping a couple of riders on their cases, and see first hand the problems with medical treatment. Oregon motorcycle policies do not typically provide medical coverage, and in both my cases, my folks have no health plans to back them up. This can be a devastating experience on not only the rider, but his or her family.