Motorcycle Helmet Statistics

man-riding-motorcycle-with-helmetRiding a motorcycle is more dangerous than operating a car and is one of the leading causes of severe injuries and death. Moreover, motorcycle helmet use statistics show that the odds of surviving a motorcycle crash are significantly lower in unhelmeted riders.

While most people know the risks of not wearing a helmet, some riders still don’t wear one, especially in Illinois, where helmet use is not mandatory. Nonetheless, other road users are expected to respect motorcyclists’ rights regardless of whether or not they are wearing helmets.

Were you injured in a motorcycle accident? If so, the personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you. Call us toll-free at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to explore your legal rights.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our motorcycle accident attorneys remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives: Traffic Safety Facts

Motorcycle headgear use saved lives and reduced the risk of death. Requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets protects against head injuries and crash deaths. This protective gear reduces motorcyclist fatalities that are common in traffic crashes.

Motorcycle headgear use statistics show that the odds of surviving a motorcycle crash are significantly lower in unhelmeted riders. Below are recent key facts about motorcycle helmet use:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Helmet Use Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was created to carry out safety programs and reduce injury, death, and economic losses due to motor vehicle crashes. According to an NHTSA report:

  • Motorcycle helmets saved lives by preventing over 25,000 fatalities in motorcycle crashes between 2002 and 2017.
  • Motorcyclists who wore helmets were less likely to suffer from serious head injuries.
  • If all motorcyclists wore helmets, about 800 lives could have been saved in 2017.
  • Motorcycle helmet use is 37 to 40 percent effective in reducing head injuries and crash deaths.
  • Motorcycle helmet use is 8 to 13 percent effective in reducing the risk of minor to serious head injury.
  • The use of headgear resulted in economic costs of $725 per registered motorcycle saved to society.
  • A total of 5,014 motorcyclists died in fatal crashes in America, and these deaths accounted for about 14 percent of all crash deaths in the US in 2019 alone.
  • The US would have saved more than $1billion in economic costs annually in productivity, medical, healthcare costs, and litigation costs if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
  • Department of Transportation-compliant helmets was greater in states with universal helmet use than those with no helmet statutes.

National Safety Council Helmet Use Statistics

The National Safety Council (NSC) endorses the use of headgear that meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards for all motorcyclists. A helmet that meets the DOT standards is more effective in preventing head injury.

The NSC provided the following key facts on its website:

  • Motorcyclists’ use of helmets approved by the Department of Transportation was 64.9% in 2021.
  • headgear use has increased by 12.5% since 2002; however, recent estimates reveal that the use of headgear decreased from 69% in 2020 to 64.9% in 2021.
  • use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets is higher at 86.1% in states with a universal helmet law than the 53.4% of helmet use in states with no universal helmet law.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Motorcycle helmet laws require riders to use helmets while riding a motor vehicle on public roads. Establishing helmet statutes is critical in encouraging riders to wear helmets during a ride.

In the US, the states adopted varying law provisions for motorcyclists. Some states adopted universal helmet laws (UHLs), while others favor partial helmet laws (PHLs). The states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Illinois do not have state laws.

Universal Helmet Laws

The universal laws on headgear use require all riders to use helmets while riding on public roads. States that adopted this law allows riders to operate a motorcycle, regardless of age and skill, provided that they are wearing a headgear compliant with the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.

Establishing universal laws is critical in encouraging motorcyclists to wear helmets during a ride.

The UNC Highway Safety and Research Center report that the helmet use rate is 90 percent or higher in states that enacted the universal helmet laws. Before implementing the universal law, this rate was significantly higher when head-gear use was 50 percent or lower.

The US Department of Transportation indicates that only the District of Columbia and 18 other states have universal helmet legislation.

Partial Helmet Laws

Twenty-nine states established restrictions that apply only to certain riders, especially riders under a specified age. For example, in Michigan, a person under 21 must wear a DOT-approved head-gear when riding a motorcycle.

Illinois Motorcycle Laws

The Illinois motorcycle law requires all motorcyclists to have a valid license. Riding motorcycles without a license is a significant violation of the state’s traffic rules.

Motorcycle riders who are at least 16 have to pass a written and on-cycle exam to secure an Illinois Motorcycle License. Motorcyclists 18 or older may present evidence of completing an approved motorcycle riding course in Illinois.

Moreover, while Illinois does not have a helmet law, drivers of motorcycles are encouraged to wear helmets to reduce the risk of collisions. Traffic safety facts show that helmeted drivers are likely to survive collisions with other vehicles.

Motorcyclists vs. Passenger Vehicle Occupants in Traffic Crash

Registered motorcycles account for only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States. However, a recent statistical report reveals that per 100,000 registered vehicles, motorcycles showed 58.33 percent of motorcyclist fatalities in 2019.

On the other hand, the fatality rate per 100,000 registered cars is recorded at 6.8 percent for passenger cars and 9.42 percent for light trucks. The following further reveals the difference between motorcycle and passenger vehicle accidents:

  • The motorcycle accident fatality rate is 30 percent higher than the fatality rate of passenger cars
  • Motorcycle drivers and passengers are 80% more likely to suffer from injuries than other vehicle occupants, and only 20% more likely to suffer from injuries.
  • While motorcycles account for only 3% of all registered vehicles in the US, drivers and passengers account for more than 5% of crash-related fatalities.

Riding a motorcycle poses more risks compared to riding a passenger vehicle. However, anyone can still enjoy a ride with the proper use of headgear, caution, rider training, and obeying traffic laws.

How to Know if a Helmet is DOT approved?

Helmets that meet the standards provide protection and prevent serious injuries. You can find the DOT certification at the back or inside the helmet. The sticker is either stitched in the helmet’s liner or foam.

Motorcycle Riding Tips

  • Always wear the proper protection to protect yourself in case of a motorcycle crash. In addition to wearing DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, wear boots and gloves to make sure that your arms and legs are entirely covered.
  • Wear bright-colored clothes to make you visible to other cars
  • Take time to get familiar with a new bike, as motorcycles typically vary in handling and responsiveness
  • Install an anti-lock braking system to reduce risk when riding
  • Know your local traffic laws and drive responsibly

Need to Consult With a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Because of a Mishap

Are you suffering the consequences of operating a motorcycle without a helmet when involved in a motorcycle crash? Did you hit a biker not wearing a helmet?

The experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help protect your rights if you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident.

We are dedicated to fighting for the compensation that you deserve! Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for your free consultation with an experienced legal professional. We work on contingency, so you won’t pay any fees until we win your case. Our law firm’s discussions about your topic remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.