Motorcycle Helmets
          Are Effective in Preventing
Serious Brain Injuries


Helmets prevent brain injury. Motorcycle helmets save lives and prevent devastating and debilitating head injuries. Motorcyclists who ride without helmets run a significantly greater risk of death or permanent injury. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has the data that prove it.


When I had my motorcycle crash, and suffered my head injury, it changed my life and it took a huge toll on my family. If anyone has the opportunity to reduce the number of head injuries, I would personally urge them to do whatever they can to spare another person from this ordeal.
—Doug Wilson, motorcycle crash victim, Maryland


GAO reviewed 46 studies of motorcycle helmets and helmet laws. Here’s what they found:

  • Helmeted riders have up to a 73 percent lower fatality rate than unhelmeted riders.9

  • Helmeted riders have up to an 85 percent reduced incidence of severe, serious, and critical injuries than unhelmeted riders.10

  • The GAO concluded: “Because there is convincing evidence that helmets save lives and reduce society’s burden of caring for injured riders, Congress may wish to consider encouraging states to enact and retain universal helmet laws.”11


In its Report to Congress: Benefits of Safety Belts and Motorcycle Helmets, NHTSA confirms the facts:

  • Motorcycle helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.12

  • Unhelmeted motorcyclists are over three times as likely to suffer a brain injury as were those who were helmeted.13


Table of Contents / Comprehensive Approach to Safety / Anatomy of a Crash /
Preventing Brain Injuries / Reducing Injuries & Saving Lives / Helemet Laws Work /
Reducing Costs / Not a Stand Alone Issue / Common Myths /
Tax Payer vs. Personal Freedom / More Info. / End Notes