Monograph 12 – Motorcycle rider age and risk of fatal injury


The relatively high risk to motorcycle riders of serious and fatal injury, compared with other road users, is a significant road safety issue. Trends in motorcycle fatalities over the decade to 2001 suggest improvement in the safety of motorcyclists has been lagging that of other road users. Motorcycle rider fatalities only decreased by 6 per cent between 1991 and 2001compared with an 18 per cent reduction in the overall road toll, from 2113 to 1736.

Australia’s motorcycle safety record compares relatively poorly with other OECD nations as a whole. In 2000, the latest year for which data are available, there were 5.7 deaths per 10 000registered motorcycles, compared with an OECD median of 5.11. This is significant considering Australia ranks favourably in its overall road safety record. In 2000, there were1.5 fatalities per 10 000 registered vehicles compared with the OECD median of 1.9.

This report examines the trends associated with motorcycle rider fatalities and compares the risk of fatal injury to motorcycle riders among different age groups, particularly older riders. The report only uses data relating to motorcycle operator (rider) fatalities where the rider is aged 17 years and over and where the fatal injury occurred on a public road correlated area. It excludes motorcycle passenger fatalities and cases where age is unknown.

Key Findings

  • Fatalities among riders aged 17 and over decreased by around 6 per cent between1991 and 2001 while over the same period fatalities among riders 40 years and over increased by 77 per cent.
  • Fatalities among riders 40 years and over as a proportion of all rider fatalities, increased from 14 per cent in 1991 to 27 per cent in 2001.
  • The popularity of motorcycling appears to be increasing significantly among the 40 years and over age group.
  • Despite the significant increase in older rider fatalities, the risk of fatal injury to motorcycle riders per distance travelled is still significantly higher among younger riders.
  • Motorcycle riders are around 29 times more likely to be fatally injured than operators of other vehicles travelling the same distance.

Download Complete Document: Mcycle_Age_1 [PDFPDF: 138 KB]

Type: Research and Analysis Report
Sub Type: ATSB Monograph
Topics: Fatality, Motorcycle, Risk
Publication Date: 01/04/02