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Use your head: Motorcycle helmet statistics


For all the safety precautions you should take when riding a motorcycle, only one protects the most important part of your body: Your brain.

Alright, so the rhetoric used about wearing a helmet can be a little intense. That doesn’t mean you should overlook the importance of wearing a helmet. There is no safety equipment more important to a motorcyclist.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tracks a variety of statistics regarding motorcycle and ATV use. The most recent numbers, from 2014, are pretty staggering:

  • The number of deaths on motorcycles was more than 27 times those in cars.
  • Helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing deaths
  • Helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.

Those last two numbers are examples of why helmet use is so important. Every time we see a rider whizz by us without wearing a helmet, we wonder what they are thinking. Your odds of suffering serious injury or death increase greatly when you are not wearing a helmet.

While the statistics show that it is substantially safer to wear a helmet, doing so does not mitigate all risk. Careful driving is still important. We can see this in the number of fatalities in crashes where the riders were wearing helmets. In 2014, 62 percent of people killed in motorcycle crashes were wearing helmets, and 35 percent were not. Helmet status was unknown in three percent of accidents.

Helmets aren’t perfect. You shouldn’t make wearing one your only safety precaution. You also shouldn’t ignore the importance of protecting your head.