Rural Roads More Dangerous Than Urban, Says NHTSA Study

Newly Released Federal Study Says There Are More Fatal Crashes On Country Roads Than In The Rush, Crush And Intensity Of Urban Traffic.

You may feel safer when riding in the country than you do in the city. However, a study just released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that 42% more fatal crashes occur in rural parts of the country than on busy stretches of highways through cities and suburbs. That despite the fact that motorists traveled 16.1 trillion miles on urban roads compared to just 10.3 trillion miles on rural roads during the 10 years studied.

About 4% of those crashes involve motorcyclists, although motorcycle accidents were not given any particular study in the NHTSA research. Also missing is any reference to collisions involving deer and other animals, a much more prominent hazard in rural areas than urban ones.

From our observations, rural motorcycle accidents are more likely to be single-vehicle crashes, where the motorcyclist runs off the road, usually in a corner. Motorcyclists are more likely to test their cornering skills on remote, less traveled road than on urban ones. Urban accidents are more likely to involve another vehicle, partly because there are more of them in that environment and in part because motorcycles and motorcyclists are more likely to be overlooked by other drivers than larger and more conventional vehicles.

Though the study has no motorcycle-specific information that you can apply to those pleasure rides in the country, it might serve as a reminder that everything is not as idyllic as it seems when you are out riding away from it all.

For more breaking motorcycle news, visit the home page of

There are some rural hazards that don't exist in urban areas.