Motorcyclist Safety


Motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities. In 2020 there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. This is the highest number of motorcyclists killed since FARS started in 1975.1 

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

  • Helmet Use
    NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 749 lives could have been saved.2
  • Impaired Riding
    In 2017, there were 4,885 motorcycle riders killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,357 (28%) were alcohol-impaired (BAC of .08 or higher).2
  • Speeding
    In 2017, 32% of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding.2

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. (2022, September).  2020 Summary of motor vehicle crashes: 2020 data. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 813 369). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, August). Motorcycles: 2017 data (Updated, Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 785). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



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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