Which is Safer for Motorcycles: Highways or the Streets?
Jessica Fox Last Updated On: December 6, 2022

What Is The Safest Place To Ride A Motorcycle Highway Or Streets

Safest Place To Ride A Motorcycle Highway Or Streets

While being a driver of a motorcycle may be a lot more fun than being a driver of a car or truck, it’s also demonstrably less safe. This is because a lot of safety features of the car are simply absent in the motorcycle: from a bumper, to an airbag, windshields, and seatbelts, to general stability of four or more wheels against two; the motorcycle is significantly less safe than a car. In 2019 the Insurance Information Institute reported that the national fatality rate of motorcycles was 6.2 times higher than those of cars and 8.2 times more than light trucks. 

However, it should be also stated that while motorcyclists are more likely to suffer severe injury or death in an accident, they are also far safer drivers. Studies show that motorcycle drivers understand the rules of the road better than their four-wheeled counterparts. 

Even with a superior understanding of road safety, the fact remains that some places are safer for motorcyclists than others. But which is safer for motorcycles: highways or streets? 

Read on to find out. 

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Riding Motorcycles on the Highway

Is it safe to ride a motorcycle on the highway?

Let’s start with a few facts.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, only interstate and non-interstate freeways and expressways are considered highways, which hold a surprising 17% of all crashes on roads country-wide.

The other 87% of crashes occur on major urban and rural roads that aren’t highways, local roads, and non-interstate minor arterial and collector roads. The highest percentage of accidents in fact take place on regular city streets, contributing a whopping 29% of motorcycle fatalities!

So What Is The Safest Place To Ride A Motorcycle?

With all the perceived dangers of the highway—notably its higher average speeds—highways are still much safer than city streets for motorcycles. In fact, according to the Hurt Report of 1981, less than 1 in a thousand accidents happened over 86 miles per hour. 

A few factors contribute to the relative safety of highways for motorcycles:

  1. Highways use physical dividers between oncoming lanes, making head-on collisions very rare.
  2. Connecting and merging lanes are clearly signposted, decreasing the chances of mistaking lanes and getting into accidents.
  3. Congestion is less common on highways than on city streets, and cars flow smoothly, meaning there are fewer differences between the average speed of different cars, preventing being rear-ended by a faster car.
  4. Highways are often much wider and with many more lanes, simply providing more space to freely move and avoid danger.

It may surprise you that highways are one of the safest places to ride a motorcycle, but the facts are undeniable. To keep yourself safe, drive safely and stay alert on every road—especially in cities

Also, make sure you’re covered with enough insurance. Even if you do everything right, that doesn’t guarantee other drivers will, and basic liability insurance doesn’t protect you or your bike from damage. It only protects other people from damages caused by you. 

Get access to fast and free quotes for motorcycle insurance now. 

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Jessica FoxJessica Fox has been a freelance writer for five years, with a specialty in health, wellness, and insurance. During this time, she’s written for some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands from around the world. Jessica is also the mother of two young daughters and loves coffee, writing, and working out.