Anyone riding a motorcycle faces certain risks, but research shows that your risk of suffering a head injury is higher when you are a motorcycle passenger, as opposed to a driver. Traumatic brain injuries are the most common injury suffered by motorcycle drivers and passengers in crashes. However, passengers face higher head injury risks than drivers regardless of whether they wear helmets. 

According to Reuters, a study of motorcycle wrecks conducted over a three-year period revealed surprising statistics about head injury risks. 

Motorcycle head injury statistics 

The study, which involved about 86,000 motorcycle riders and passengers, revealed that motorcycle passengers suffered head injuries in about 40% of crashes. The people driving the motorcycles suffered serious head injuries in about 36% of crashes. What might be the root of the disparity? 

The helmet factor 

Statistics show that motorcycle drivers are more likely to wear helmets while traveling by bike than motorcycle passengers. Study results showed that while about two-thirds of the people controlling the bikes wore helmets, only about 57% of motorcycle passengers did the same. 

While helmet use plays a role in your likelihood of suffering a serious head or brain injury in a motorcycle crash, even helmeted passengers face more risks than helmeted drivers. When both parties on a bike wear helmets, motorcycle drivers suffer head injuries in about 31% of cases. Passengers experience them in about 36% of instances. 

Other factors 

Part of this may be due to the fact that motorcycle drivers have windshields in front of them that may protect them to some degree. They may also have a stronger grip on the bike, meaning that you may face a higher risk of ejection from the bike, and suffering a serious head injury as a result, as a motorcycle passenger. More information about motorcycle crashes is available on our webpage.