Using estimates from the GAO November 2012 report on motorcycle safety:
Total bill (direct costs) for motorcycle crashes in 2010 = $16 billion. Ignoring indirect costs and assuming (as GAO does) that victims and their families cover 25% of those costs, leaves society with a bill of say $12 billion. What fraction of this is attributable to H-D bikes? Conservatively, based on motorcycle registrations and H-D's own sales figures, a guess might be 25%. So, H-D has supplemented $3.8 billion in bike sales with a bill to the public of $3 billion in accident-related costs. The siren call of the open road, hold me back!
57% of 2012 U.S. new heavyweight motorcycle registrations (282,000) were Harleys
Excerpts from the report: In 2010, an estimated 95,000 motorcycle crashes occurred in the U.S. and 4,423 (4612 in 2011) of these crashes were fatal...while motorcycles accounted for only about 3 percent of all registered vehicles, they were involved in about 15 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes.
Motorcycle crashes are more likely to be fatal than other types of vehicle crashes...almost 5 percent of the 95,000 motorcycle crashes in 2010 resulted in at least one fatality...according to NHTSA, motorcyclists were about 30 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than passenger car occupants per vehicle mile traveled in 2010.Studies indicate that the costs of motorcycle crashes are significant, but have only estimated specific types of these costs. We conducted our own analysis ...and estimate that the direct measurable costs of motorcycle crashes—those costs that directly result from a crash and that can and have been measured—were approximately $16 billion in 2010. However, accurately determining the full costs is difficult because some—such as long-term medical costs and intangible costs related to emotional pain and suffering—are difficult to measure. Thus, the full costs of motorcycle crashes are likely higher than our estimate. Victims and their families as well as society—including employers, private insurers, healthcare providers, government, and others—bear these costs. NHTSA estimated that society bears about three-quarters of the measurable costs of all motor vehicle crashes. Society’s share of the costs of motorcycle crashes may be similar or higher, in part because injuries from these crashes are more severe.Studies we identified on the costs of motorcycle crashes indicate that the costs are significant, but the studies estimated only specific types of direct measurable costs. Direct measurable costs are those costs directly resulting from a crash that can and have been measured. One study, conducted by CDC and Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, estimated three categories of costs associated with motorcycle crashes: medical costs, costs associated with the loss in market productivity (lost wages), and costs associated with the loss in household productivity (costs of hiring someone to perform household tasks). The study estimated that the total for these cost categories for all motorcycle crashes nationwide in 2005 was $12 billion. A number of the studies we identified estimated only the motorcycle crash victims’ medical costs. One such study estimated that the total hospital charges for the initial treatment of motorcyclists injured in traffic crashes in Florida in 2010 was $348 million.