When you look at the raw statistics, motorcyclists die far less often in total than people in passenger cars. In 2017, for instance, around 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives. In 2016, it was nearly 5,300. Considering that around 30,000 die annually in motor vehicle accidents, this makes motorcycles appear safer.

They’re not. The difference is just that people ride them far less often. Reports actually show that fatal motorcycle accidents happen 28 times more often than fatal crashes involving people in passenger vehicles. That report focused the statistics by looking at the deaths per vehicle mile traveled.

So, people die less on motorcycles because they put in far fewer miles and spend less time on the road. If those factors were even, the number of motorcycle deaths would be an epidemic, absolutely off the charts.

With this in mind, are some experts too optimistic? “Motorcyclist fatality numbers have fluctuated from year to year over the past decade, so while we are cautiously optimistic about this projection, we really need to see a sustained trend downward toward eventually eliminating motorcyclist fatalities altogether,” said the author of a motorcycle crash report.

That’s an important goal, and there was a slight downward trend from 2016 to 2017, but it doesn’t seem like they’re anywhere close to eliminating the risk. Riders still face absolutely massive risks when compared to everyone else on the roads with them.

Part of the issue here is that riders get injured and die in accidents caused by other careless drivers. If you get into one of these crashes, make sure you understand all of your legal rights to compensation.