SafeTREC Traffic Safety Facts: Motorcycle Safety


In 2016, there were 5,286 motorcycle riders killed on public roadways in the United States, a 5.1 percent increase from 2015. Motorcyclists are at greater risk of injury during collisions—in 2016, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to be fatally injured in a traffic collision, per vehicle miles traveled. In 2016 only 65.3 percent of U.S. motorcyclists wore helmets. In states with universal helmet laws requiring all riders to wear helmets, the known helmet use rate among fatally injured motorcyclists ranged from 66 percent to 100 percent in 2016, while in states without such laws, the rate was lower, ranging widely from 0 percent to 69 percent. In California, which does have a universal helmet law, the known helmet use rate among fatally injured motorcyclists in 2016 was high (95.3 percent). Estimates maintain that helmets saved 308 lives in California in 2016, and 10 additional lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists wore helmets. 

Fortin, Garrett
Cooper, Jill F.
Publication date: 
June 1, 2018
Publication type: 
Fact Sheet