According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.gov), the number of deaths on motorcycles in the U.S. was nearly 27 times higher than the number in cars, per mile traveled in the U.S. in 2018. From 2007 until 2020 annual motorcycle accident deaths in the United States ranged anywhere from 4,469 to 5,337 per 100 million vehicle miles.

A recent study released by the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs highlighted the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle.  According to the study, motorcycle death rates due to head injuries are lower in states that have helmet laws vs those with no helmet laws.

It’s estimated that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37%-42% and the risk of head injury by 69%; riders wearing no helmet are 3x more likely vs helmeted riders to sustain traumatic brain injuries if involved in a crash.

What do all of the results of these and other studies show? Helmets are the most effective motorcycle safety measure known to save lives in the event of a crash. And, the universal helmet laws are the best way to ensure that riders will wear them. In fact, when a helmet law is implemented, the percentage of riders who wear helmets increases significantly to more than 90% from 50% or less before implementation of the law.

Reasons to wear your helmet every time you ride

Generally speaking, the largest economic cost of motorcycle accidents are the expenses involved in the medical treatment of the victims. The more serious the injury, the higher the medical bills. And, the likelihood of future health complications, long-term rehab, and even permanent disability, all of which come with big price tags, increases with serious or catastrophic injuries. 

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, head injuries are the number one cause of death in motorcycle deaths. The average cost of a fatal motorcycle crash is estimated at $1.2 million; much of this cost can be attributed to emergency and ICU treatment. 

In addition to economic costs that are tangible, there are non-tangible costs as well, such as the loss of a victim’s quality of life, the physical and emotional pain and suffering that victim will have to endure, the loss of his or her career and/or ability to be a productive part of society. 

All-rider or universal helmet laws increase motorcycle helmet use, thereby resulting in a decrease in deaths and injuries when riders are involved in accidents, and they end up saving taxpayer dollars, too.

California’s helmet law for motorcyclists requires all motorcycle riders to wear helmets at all times. Looking at helmet laws state by state, 18 other states plus the District of Columbia also have universal helmet laws. 

Responsible riding

Riding a motorcycle can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re riding with friends. Take some time to familiarize yourself with motorcycle group riding rules

Whether you’re riding solo or with a group, safety should always be your number one priority to reduce the risk of injuries. Responsible riding can prevent accidents. Wearing a helmet saves lives and, in California, it’s the law.