Motorcyclist Safety

Motorcyclist

Motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities. In 2015, 5,286 motorcyclists lost their lives on America's roads. In states without universal helmet laws, 11.5 times as many motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets.1

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides these statistics on motorcycle safety in the United States:

GHSA Policy

Click here to view GHSA's Policy and Priorities on Motorcycle Safety

Helmet Use
NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,772 lives in 2015. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 740 lives could have been saved.2

  • Licensing Issues
    Twenty-five percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses at the time of the collisions.
  • Impaired Riding
    In 2013, there were 4,399 motorcycle riders killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,232 (28%) were alcohol-impaired (BAC of .08 or higher).
  • Speeding
    In 2013, 34 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding

States use both national and statewide data to find the right mix of rider education, enforcement and laws to decrease deaths and injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes.

1 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2017, October). 2016 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Crash•Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 456). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812456

2 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2017, June). Lives and Costs Saved by Motorcycle Helmets, 2015 (Traffic Safety Facts Crash•Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 388). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812388

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Laws

Currently, about half the states require helmets for all motorcyclists. Most other states require helmets for certain riders, and a few have no helmet law. 

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