While the law requires Arizona motorcycle riders under age 18 to wear helmets, motorcycle riders and passengers of all ages would be wise to do so. Research shows that while motorcycle drivers and passengers both face a high risk of a head injury in a bike crash, the risks are even higher for those who ride on the back of the bike.
According to Reuters, traumatic brain injuries are the most common type of injury suffered by both motorcycle drivers and passengers in bike wrecks. However, bike passengers suffer TBIs in about 40% of bike wrecks, whereas those driving the bikes suffer them in 36% of bike crashes.
Helmet use statistics
Studies show that people in control of motorcycles are more likely to wear motorcycle helmets than those traveling on the back of the bike. A study of about 86,000 motorcycle drivers and passengers revealed that two-thirds of those driving the bikes wear helmets. In comparison, about 57% of motorcycle passengers do the same.
However, even when motorcycle drivers and passengers are both wearing helmets, TBI risks are higher for those on the back of the bike. When wearing helmets, 36% of passengers involved in bike crashes suffer TBIs. In comparison, 31% of motorcycle drivers wearing helmets suffer TBIs in crashes.
Helmet use only helps so much
Why do bike passengers suffer more TBIs than motorcycle drivers even when both are wearing helmets? In a motorcycle wreck, the person steering the bike is less likely to suffer ejection from it because they have handlebars to grip and a windshield between their body and the roadway.
While motorcycle passengers face higher head injury risks than those driving the bikes, evidence shows that wearing helmets is a smart move for both those steering the bike and those riding on the back.