Advocates’ Statement on Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

  • May 1, 2018
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             

May 1, 2018

Contact: Eric Naing 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294,


Statement of Cathy Chase,

President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,

On Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and Advocates wants to remind all riders that the most important thing you can do to prevent death and devastating injury in a motorcycle crash is to wear a helmet.  Motorcycles are the most dangerous form of motor vehicle transportation.  Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are nearly 30 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than occupants of passenger cars.  Motorcycle crash deaths are also on the rise.  In 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed, the most fatalities since 2008.

Motorcycle crashes are not only deadly, they can also lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI), a serious, potentially lifelong condition, and a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.  This kind of injury is especially prevalent if a motorcycle rider is not wearing a helmet.  In fact, helmet use has been shown to reduce the cost of medical treatment, length of hospital stay, and probability of long-term disability for riders injured in crashes.

Motorcycle helmets also save taxpayers billions of dollars every year.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle crashes lead to $12.9 billion in economic impacts and $66 billion in societal harm each year.  Conversely, motorcycle helmets curb costs and have been shown to prevent $2.7 billion in economic costs and $17 billion in societal harm, annually.

The facts are strong and the message is crystal clear: helmets are far and away the best countermeasure to preventing motorcycle crash fatalities and injuries.  Yet, only 19 states and the District of Columbia have all-rider helmet laws on the books, and even these few protections are under assault.  Right now, the Missouri General Assembly is considering legislation, including a senate bill (SB 556) that would repeal the state’s all-rider helmet requirement.  Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia also considered bills to weaken or repeal vital state all-rider helmet laws this session.  These measures are irresponsible at best and deadly at worst.

Just as helmet use is the best way to prevent motorcycle crash deaths and injuries, all-rider motorcycle helmet laws are the best way to promote helmet use.  NHTSA has found that states without universal helmet laws have 11.5 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities as states with universal helmet laws.  Further, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluded that “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities.”

The best way to celebrate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is to always wear a helmet and to support all-rider helmet laws to ensure fellow riders do the same.  And, let your state lawmakers know you support proven, lifesaving all-rider helmet laws, especially if you live in Missouri. Those who support helmet repeals argue, “Let those who ride decide.”  We respond by asserting, “Let those who pay have a say.”  All-rider motorcycle helmet laws put safety first and protect the wallets of all taxpayers.