Motorcycle Passengers are Less Likely to Wear Helmets

While it may surprise some, a JAMA Surgery study released in November revealed that passengers on motorcycles are less likely to wear a helmet than motorcycle drivers. The study also suggests that in the event of a collision, passengers are more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The study focused on data from accidents that occurred between 2007 and 2010 involving 80,000 drivers and 6,000 passengers. The results showed that two-thirds of the drivers were wearing helmets, while just over half (57%) of the passengers were wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. For both drivers and passengers, traumatic brain injuries were the most reported injury, but the numbers for passengers were much higher at 40%, compared to 36% of drivers.

Unfortunately, even when they are wearing a helmet, passengers are still at a higher risk of TBI. Some, like Dr. Tyler Evans of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, believe that this is largely due to the high likelihood of passengers being ejected at high speeds in the event of an accident. Dr. Evans states: “Drivers might have lower risk for these injuries because they sit behind a protective windshield and have a firm grip on the steering column, while the passenger often sits at a higher position behind the driver with little to hold on to.”

Jacob Sunshine, an independent researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not part of the JAMA study, says that this study shows that passengers can benefit from wearing a helmet when riding. He states in an email to Reuters: “The primary take-away from this study is that motorcycle helmets significantly reduce head and neck injuries in both drivers and passengers. Riding motorcycles is more dangerous compared to other modes of transport, and the protective benefits of wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding are clear and have been demonstrated across multiple studies.”

Currently, only 19 states have mandatory laws requiring motorcycle helmet use, down from 47 in 1975. This is due to Congress eliminating the federal requirement for helmets. It should come as no surprise that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has observed an increase in the proportion of motorcycle fatalities when compared with other motor vehicles.

If a motorcycle driver or passenger is hurt in a collision with a reckless or negligent motorist, they may be able to take legal action to hold the responsible party accountable. They may be owed compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, replacement of property, and other damages associated with the crash. Even though it might’ve helped minimize the injury, not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash will not preclude a driver or passenger from filing an injury lawsuit.

Contact a Baton Rouge Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

At Babcock Partners, our Louisiana motorcycle accident attorney has what it takes to help you seek the compensation you deserve if you or a loved one were hurt in a crash. If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, you still may be owed compensation. Contact our experienced attorneys today by phone or online to schedule a free case review today.