Riding a motorcycle in North Carolina involves inherent risk, and the risk of a head injury is particularly high. Yet, research indicates that you face a higher risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a bike crash if you are riding on the back of the bike, rather than controlling it.
According to Reuters, traumatic brain injuries are the most common injury type suffered in motorcycle crashes for motorcycle passengers as well as riders.
How often TBIs occur in motorcycle crashes
A study of more than 85,000 motorcycle riders and passengers revealed that passengers riding on the back of a bike suffer TBIs in about 40% of all bike crashes. Yet, the riders in the driver’s seat only suffer TBIs in about 36% of motorcycle wrecks.
How often motorcycle users wear helmets
Part of the reason you are more likely to suffer a TBI in a bike crash as a passenger than a driver is because passengers are less likely to wear helmets during their rides. Study results show that while two-thirds of motorcycle drivers wear helmets on a regular basis, about 57.5% of people riding on the backs of motorcycles do the same. Yet, even when both parties on the bike wear helmets, the driver is still 5% less likely to suffer a TBI in a crash. This is likely due to the fact that the driver has handlebars to grip on to, which makes him or her less likely to fall off he motorcycle.
Studies show that alcohol use also impacts helmet use and head injury risks, with both passengers and drivers less likely to wear helmets when they are under the influence.