There are inherent risks associated with riding a motorcycle. While wearing a helmet helps mitigate some of these dangers, the threat of suffering a serious head injury in a motorcycle crash remains high. Research about your chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a bike crash shows that you face a higher risk of a TBI as a motorcycle passenger, rather than a driver.
Per Reuters, a study of motorcyclist and passenger behavior and helmet use conducted over a three-year span has revealed how much more of a head injury risk you face when riding on the back of a bike.
TBI motorcycle crash statistics
The study, which involved roughly 86,000 motorcycle riders and passengers, showed that, for both groups, traumatic brain injuries were the most common type of injury suffered in motorcycle crashes. However, motorcycle passengers experience TBIs in about 40% of motorcycle crashes. Those steering the bikes experience these head injuries in 36% of bike wrecks.
Helmet use statistics
Part of the reason you may face a higher risk of a TBI as a motorcycle passenger as opposed to a driver is that you are statistically less likely to wear a helmet on the back of a bike than you are on the front of one. About two-thirds of motorcycle drivers wear helmets when riding their bikes, but only about 57.5% of bike passengers do the same.
Even when you and the driver both wear helmets while traveling on a motorcycle, you still face elevated head injury risks as a passenger. This may be because there is no windshield protecting you in the event of a crash, or because you do not have handlebars to grip in such an incident.