It is possible to compare the risks of different modes of transport. The Travel Survey recorded the time spent by each transport mode - but not distance travelled for pedestrian trips. For this reason, the best way to compare the risks of the modes is to compare the number of injured road users per time travelled (see graph below). For cyclists, also included is the number of injuries leading to hospital admission that occurred on public roads - but which did not happen as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle.
Travel by motorcycle is vastly more dangerous than by any other travel mode. It is about 18 times more risky than travel by cars (including vans and utes) and four times as dangerous as cycling. Of course, a mode of transport may appear more dangerous if it is used in more risky circumstances - or by more risky drivers. Traditionally, motorcycle riding has been dominated by the most risky driving group - young males. However, the inherent danger of this mode of transport is indicated by the high risk for riders aged 40 and over, one of the safest driving groups as car drivers. For every million hours riding a motorcycle, they have approximately 190 injuries, almost 30 times the risk they have as car drivers.
How does this translate to a risk for an average car driver? The average driver spends about 280 hours driving per year*. On average, one in 380 drivers can expect to be injured (including fatal injury) in a road crash during a year's driving. If each motorcyclist rode as much as car drivers drive, one in 35 would be injured per year. In fact, motorcyclists ride for only 44 hours per year (on average) and one in 130 is injured (or killed) in a crash per year.
* A "driver" is defined as a person who reported driving at least 20km in the 12 months immediately preceding their survey interview.