RIDING TIP: When to ride to avoid a crash

September 23, 2020 Tags: ,
Harley Night Riding

RIDING TIP:  Best and Worst Times to Ride According to the 2019 Arizona Crash Facts Data

We revisit the 2019 Arizona MVD Crash Facts to glean some information about the best and worst times to ride according to the crash data.  Our caveat from the previous article applies to this piece as well.  Since we are unable to understand vehicle-mile-traveled (VMT), we don’t necessarily understand rate, so we’ll be looking at whole values.

Also, we will be limiting the data review to a timeframe of 6am to midnight as we think most people in general will be restricting their riding to that 18 hour time period during the week and on the weekend (eyeing those separately).  We will also be looking at two pieces of the data; general crashes and fatal crashes.



Looking at the data and we see an interesting trend.  General crash peaks and fatal crash peaks do not coincide.  This has us asking the question…why not?  We could make some assumptions, but we couldn’t say with accuracy.

Reviewing all motorcycle crashes, the best time of day to ride is 9am in the morning, and 11pm in the evening during the week and 6am and 11pm on the weekdays.  The best day to ride during the week is Monday.

Fatal crashes tell us a slightly different story.  We are seeing the best time to ride in the morning is 6am/7am, and the best time in the evening being 9pm.  On weekends, it looks like 6am to 9am and 9pm are the times with the least amount of fatal crashes.  The day to ride to avoid fatal crashes looks to be Tuesday with Monday a close second.



Clearly the worst time to ride during the weekday is at 5pm with 4pm a close second.  The fatal crash data almost mirror this fact.  During the weekend, we see a spike in 6pm crashes with the peaks in fatal crashes occurring over a wide spread:  1-2pm, 4pm, 7-8pm, and 11pm.

The worst day of the week to ride is Saturday with Friday a close second as it pertains to all crashes.  We do see Saturday and Sunday as the major days for crash fatalities.



Again, we are making some massive leaps of inductive reasoning, but we think due to our experience and general knowledge of motorcycling, we can safely say the following is at play here:

    • Our analysis:
      • It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see how rush hour plays a major effect on the number of crashes and fatal crashes in general.  Elements like traffic density, fatigue, and distraction are probably major players at this time of day which helps create an environment of increased risk.  Throw in a happy hour, and the risk goes through the roof.
    • What can you do?
      • Delay your departure from work during the week.  Waiting until 6pm looks to generate a MUCH LOWER risk for riders.
      • Avoid riding during rush hour.  May be easier to avoid than for others, but it just may be the key to healthy, long-term riding career.
      • Alter your routes to and from work to reduce traffic density and intersection interactions.
      • Get your riding in early!  Or later.  Looks like early morning rides generate some of the least amount of risk for fatal crashes and the 9pm-10pm hour looks to be lower risk too!
    • Our analysis:
      • We are curious about the varied nature of the data.  Beyond 10am, the number of crashes and fatal crashes seem to bounce within a range we think is unacceptable.  We are also intrigued by the 6pm spike.  Could it be drinking during a meal and riding?  Could it be a spike in traffic density.  It is unclear to us at this point.
    • What can you do?
      • Get your riding in early.  It seems that lessened traffic density and a higher likelihood of alert drivers may be the keys here.
    • Our analysis:
      • Three day weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) may just be a double-edged sword for riders.  Without understanding VMT, it is tough to know if exposure to risk has increased because there are weekend warriors hitting the road or not.  Our experience tells us probably so.
      • We also think week long fatigue from drivers and workers may be at play with the Friday increase.
    • What can you do?
      • Avoid riding to work on Fridays.
      • If you’re a weekend rider or fair weather rider, understand that your skills are perishable and that rider development is a lifelong pursuit.  Come see us to improve your skills!
      • Be cautious in your routes.  We see crashes in rural areas on the weekends due to riders not bringing the skill level to high speed corners.

What assumptions did you draw from the data.  What does your experience tell you?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Bill Seltzer Yamaha FJ-09Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011.  He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee.  Have questions or comments about the article?  Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com[/md_text]

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