Although motorcycles generally tend to be more dangerous than other vehicles, studies suggest that some types and designs are riskier to ride than others.

Read on to learn more about the different motorcycle types, their associated crash statistics, and the steps you should take if you are injured in a motorcycle crash.

Essential Statistics

Nationwide crash statistics collected by the NHTSA estimated that 42,939 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2021, representing a 10% increase from 2020. Among these fatalities, 5,932 were motorcyclists. An additional 82,686 motorcyclists were injured in crashes that same year.

In Louisiana, the Louisiana Traffic Records Summary Report indicates that in 2022, there were 88 fatalities and 1,216 injuries from motorcycle accidents. These figures represent a 2.33% increase in fatalities and a 6.02% increase in injuries from 2021.   

Types of Motorcycles

The type of motorcycle used can significantly influence the rider’s risk of a crash, and chances of survival in an accident. Here’s a breakdown of the most common motorcycle types and some associated crash statistics according to registration data and fatality statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Standard Motorcycles

A standard motorcycle, also known as a roadster or naked bike, is an average, general-purpose motorcycle designed primarily for street riding and commuting. These bikes feature medium-sized, low-powered engines, an upright riding position, and beginner-friendly handling characteristics.


The cruiser is a motorcycle patterned after classic American bikes made between the 1930s and 1960s like Harley-Davidson, Indian, Henderson, and Excelsior. They feature a slightly reclined riding position and durable construction, favoring easy-riding characteristics and low-end torque over top speed.

The fatality statistics from the IIHS group standard and cruisers together. In 2021, both categories represented 1,733 fatalities or approximately 30% of motorcycle fatalities, although this high percentage is likely attributed to their popularity rather than the fact that they are more dangerous than other motorcycle types.

44.1% of motorcycles registered in the U.S. in 2021 were either standard bikes or cruisers, making them by far the most commonly ridden type of motorcycle. By this metric, cruisers are actually among the safest options to ride.

Touring Bikes

Touring bikes, also called baggers, dressers, or dress tourers, are large-displacement motorbikes designed for long-distance riding. They feature large-capacity fuel tanks, large windshields, side-mounted saddlebags or storage devices, an upright riding position, and many comfort-oriented features.

1,184 fatalities involving tourers were recorded in 2021, or approximately 20% of motorcycle fatalities. Touring and sport touring bikes made up 25.3% of all registered motorcycles in the U.S.

Sportbikes and Unclad Sportbikes

Sportbikes are lightweight, fast motorcycles equipped with high-powered, medium-displacement engines. They are designed with speed, maneuverability, and racetrack performance in mind. Unclad sportbikes are a subcategory of sportbikes featuring similar performance and design but lacking aerodynamic body panels.

According to IIHS registration data, 738 fatalities involving sportbikes and unclads were reported in 2021, or approximately 13% of motorcycle fatalities. However, these bikes only made up 8.4% of all registered bikes in 2021, making their riders disproportionately likely to be killed in crashes.

Super-Sport and Superbikes

Super-sport bikes are even faster and more powerful versions of sportbikes. They are typically road-legal versions of racing bikes, featuring extreme power-to-weight ratios and top speeds exceeding 180 mph. A superbike is a super-sport bike with an engine displacement of 1,000cc or more.

Super-sport bikes are the fastest and the most dangerous motorcycle types to control. IIHS statistics show 1,169 fatalities involving this bike type in 2021, accounting for 20% of all motorcycle fatalities, despite making up only 6.3% of registered motorcycles!

Injuries Associated With Motorcycle Accidents

According to the IIHS, the average rider is approximately 24 times more likely to be killed on the road than a car or light truck occupant. The injuries sustained by riders tend to be far more lethal than those suffered by car or truck occupants because they aren’t protected by seat belts, airbags, or crumple zones.

Here are the top five injuries suffered by motorcycle riders:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
  • Lower-extremity injuries (e.g., leg fractures)
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Road rash and resulting infections

Riders Can Count on Dudley DeBosier Motorcycle Injury Lawyers

As the Official Injury Lawyers of the Motorcycle Awareness Campaign (MAC), Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers is proud to represent riders and motorcycle enthusiasts in Louisiana. We understand the dangers and unfair bias riders face better than anyone else; this is why we’ll negotiate on your behalf and get the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact a team of qualified Louisiana motorcycle crash attorneys today.

Originally published June 20, 2022.

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