Motorcycle crash injuries and deaths are preventable. A universal helmet law is the single most effective way for states to save lives and cost savings related to motorcycle crash injuries.1
Every year there are thousands of deaths and injuries to motorcyclists involved in crashes. More than 5,500 motorcyclists died2 on our nation’s roads in 2020, and more than 180,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries.3 The economic costs of these injuries and deaths are significant.4
Motorcycle helmets can save lives and reduce injuries
- 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
Note: This document does not contain current data and is included for historical purposes only.
Motorcycle Fatality Facts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- NHTSA: Motorcycle Safetyexternal icon
- The Guide to Community Preventive Services: Motorcycle Helmetsexternal icon
- CDC’s Health Impact in 5 Years (HI-5) Initiative: Motorcycle Injury Prevention
- CDC’s Motorcycle Safety Guidepdf icon (Historical Document)
- NHTSA: Ride Smart and Sober Impaired Riding Prevention Campaignexternal icon
- 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.pdfpdf iconexternal icon. Accessed 5 April 2022.
- 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/813266external icon. Accessed 25 March 2022.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/812867external icon. Accessed 25 March 2022.
- 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/813112external icon. Accessed 25 March 2022.
- 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.pub3external icon