Motorcycle Safety

Key points

  • Every year there are thousands of deaths and injuries among motorcyclists involved in crashes.
  • Motorcycle crash injuries and deaths are preventable.
A couple on a motorcycle wearing helmets and jackets

Facts

Man on white motorcycle with helmet and padding
Helmets reduce the risk of head injury.
  • More than 5,500 motorcyclists died1 on our nation's roads in 2020, and more than 180,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries.2
  • The economic costs of these injuries and deaths are significant.3

What can be done

State universal helmet laws are an effective way to save lives.4

  • Helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives in 2017.5
  • 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets in 2017.5
  • Each year, the United States could save $1.5 billion in economic costs if all motorcyclists wore helmets.5
  • Motorcycle helmets are 37 percent (for riders) and 41 percent (for passengers) effective in preventing deaths.6
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.7
  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Overview of motor vehicle crashes in 2020 (Report No. DOT HS 813 266). U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2022. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813266. Accessed 25 March 2022.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA: CDC; 2022. Available at: www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars. Accessed 25 March 2022.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Cost of Injury Data. Atlanta, GA: CDC; 2022. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/cost/ . Accessed 2 May 2022.
  4. The Community Guide. Motor vehicle-related injury prevention: Use of motorcycle helmets, universal helmet laws. Available at: https://www.thecommunityguide.org/sites/default/files/assets/MVOI-Motorcycle-Helmets-Laws-Mandating-Use_1.pdf [PDF – 14 pages]. Accessed 5 April 2022.
  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Lives and costs saved by motorcycle helmets, 2017 (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 867). U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2019. Available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812867. Accessed 25 March 2022.
  6. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcycles (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 813 112). U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2021. Available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813112. Accessed 25 March 2022.
  7. Liu BC, Ivers R, Norton R, et. al. Helmets for preventing injury in motorcycle riders. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. 2008;(1):CD004333. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD004333.pub3