The driver of a motorcycle has more control than a passenger, but a passenger faces higher head injury risks in the event of a crash. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but the research is clear – both motorcycle drivers and motorcycle passengers are less likely to suffer a serious injury in a wreck if they are wearing helmets when the wreck occurs.
According to Reuters, a big reason motorcycle passengers face higher risks of suffering traumatic brain injuries in crashes than those driving the bikes is because they are statistically less likely to wear helmets.
Helmet use and head injuries
A survey of about 86,000 people involved in motorcycle crashes who were either the passenger or the driver of the bike revealed that two-thirds of motorcycle drivers wore helmets on a regular basis. However, only about 57.5% of motorcycle passengers did so, too. Also, motorcycle passengers involved in crashes suffered traumatic brain injuries in about 40% of instances, while motorcycle drivers experienced them in 36% of cases.
Other factors contributing to head injuries
While helmet use plays an undeniable role in a motorcycle passenger or driver’s head injury risks, other factors, too, raise a passenger’s chances of a traumatic brain injury. In a motorcycle wreck, the driver of the bike has handlebars to grasp and a windshield between him or her and the road. A passenger does not have these possible protections, raising the odds of he or she undergoing ejection from the bike.
For these reasons, bike passengers face higher head injury risks in motorcycle wrecks than drivers even when both parties wear helmets.