Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle Helmets


According to 2011 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,612 motorcyclists were killed and 81,000 were injured on our nation's roads last year. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011 and that 703 more lives in all states could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. The number of motorcycle crash fatalities has more than doubled since a low of 2,116 motorcycle crash deaths in 1997. All-rider helmet laws increase motorcycle helmet use, decrease deaths and injuries and save taxpayer dollars.

Helmets Save Lives & Reduce Health Care Costs

·         According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proved to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities.” (GAO, 2012)

·         In 2011, more than half (59%) of the fatally injured motorcycle riders were not wearing a helmet in states without all-rider helmet laws, compared to only 9% of fatally injured riders in states with an all-rider helmet law. (NHTSA, 2012)

·         The GAO estimated that in 2010 the direct measurable costs of motorcycle crashes were approximately $16 billion. (GAO, 2012)

·         In Michigan, which repealed its all-rider law in 2012, there would have been 26 fewer motorcycle crash deaths (a 21% reduction) last year if the helmet mandate was still in place, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Additionally, in the remainder of the year after the helmet repeal was enacted (April of 2012), only 74% of motorcyclists involved in crashes were helmeted, compared to 98% in the same time period of the previous four years. (IIHS, 2013)

·         In states with an all-rider helmet law, economic costs saved to society were $725 per registered motorcycle, compared with $198 per registered motorcycle in states without such a law. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)

·         In 2010, motorcyclists represented 14% of the total traffic fatalities, yet accounted for only 3% of all registered vehicles. (NHTSA, 2012)

·         By an overwhelming majority (81%), Americans favor state laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets. (Lou Harris, for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 2004)

·         A recent study has shown that motorcycle helmets are 69% effective in preventing brain injuries and 42% effective in preventing motorcyclist deaths. (Lui, Ivers, Norton, Boufous, Blows and Lo, 2008)

·         When crashes occur, motorcyclists need adequate head protection to prevent one of the leading causes of death and disability -- head injuries. (CDC, 2012)

Click here for more information about state legislative activity related to Motorcycle Helmet Laws.

Click here for a fact sheet on Motorcycle Helmets. 


June 2013

Share This Page