What The Latest NHTSA Fatality Stats Reveal About Motorcycle Safety

News -

By

NHTSA-FARS-2011

The Department of Transport has this month just issued its latest findings on motorcycles deaths and related injuries in the U.S. and all in all it makes pretty depressing reading.

Figures and research come from the DoT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has been tracking this information since 1982 and its latest report for 2011 shows that 4,612 motorcyclists died that year in the U.S. This according to NHTSA is a 2% increase in rider fatalities over 2010.

That overall figure of 4,612 deaths also includes other types of bikes (scooters, three wheelers, mopeds, mini bikes, pocket bikes and off-roaders) so the actual two-wheel motorcycle fatality number for 2011 is 4323.

What’s not clear in NHTSA’s findings is if the number of motorcycle riders actually grew too from 2010 to 2011. A total of 8,009,503 ‘motorcycles’ (including scooters, trikes etc) were registered in 2010 but this increased by nearly 5% in 2011 to 8,437,502.

The good news from the report, if you can call it that, was that injuries from crashes involving motorcycles were down in 2011 with 81,000 recorded compared to 82,000 the previous year.

Motorcycles apparently made up 3% of all registered road vehicles in the U.S. for 2011 with NHTSA including everything on two-wheels and three-wheels in this category. But 4,323 (94%) of 4,612 fatal bike crashes in 2011 were riders of two-wheeled motorcycles.

According to the findings 2,449 (49%) of all fatal motorcycle crashes were the result of a bike colliding with another vehicle. Only 6% of deaths in 2011 were due to a bike being hit from behind.

More than 42% (1,998) of motorcyclists in 2011 were killed in two vehicle accident and 38% (757) of these were the result of another vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle that was either going straight, passing or overtaking another vehicle.

NHTSA claims that of all motorcycle deaths in 2011, 35% (1,614) were the direct result of the rider speeding. This according to its research and data is a substantially higher death toll than any other vehicle type on the roads – 22% for cars, 19 % for trucks and 8% for large trucks.

Plus, based upon the average number of miles traveled by every type of vehicle on the road, in 2011 as a rider you were 30 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and five times more likely to be injured while out riding a motorcycle.

Riders of bikes with 501-1000cc engines accounted for 39% of all 2011 fatalities and also represented the highest increase of overall fatalities (25%) from when NHTSA first started recording this information in 2002.

Older motorcyclists (40 years and up) account for 75% of all motorcyclists’ deaths over this 10-year period with 42-years-old now the average age of a motorcycle rider killed on the U.S. roads in a traffic crash.

However, 22% of riders involved in fatal crashes in 2011 did not have a valid motorcycle license and were 1.4 times more likely than a car driver to have a previous license suspension or revocation.

The really scary part of all these statistics is that 42% of motorcycle riders who died in single vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2011 had blood alcohol levels (BAC) of 0.8g/dL or higher. The 40-44 year-old age group accounted for 38% of these deaths, while the 45-49 and 35-39 age groups were each at 37%.

NHTSA figures also show that in 2011, motorcycles riders killed at night were nearly three times more likely to have BAC levels of 0.8 g/dL or higher than riders who were kill during the day.

Across the U.S. in 2011, Texas had the most motorcycle fatalities with 441 riders killed and 37% of these had 0.8g/Dl BAC readings or higher. Florida was second with 426 riders killed and 34% impaired by drinking and riding and California third with 386 of which 22% of riders who died were under the influence of alcohol.

Mississippi and Ohio may have had fewer rider deaths in 2011 at 53 and 157 respectively, but both states had the national highest percentage of alcohol-impaired deaths at 40% of all motorcycle fatalities. (Vermont was actually higher at 63% but with only eight riders killed in 2011).

NHTSA’s figures also show that in 2011 of the 4000 plus motorcycle riders killed on the roads in the U.S. 40% were not wearing a helmet. And based upon all 2011 motorcycle crash information NHTSA estimates that 1,617 lives of riders were saved by wearing a helmet and a further 703 may have survived if they had been wearing a helmet. This data makes no distinction between types of helmets (full or open face).

There can be no doubting the depth of NHTSA’s 2011 research on motorcycle deaths and injuries. Some of it can be a little confusing and there are a lot of numbers and percentages to wade through but if you are prepared to read through it you can eventually work out the most dangerous day to be riding a motorcycle in any state in the U.S.

However, the staggering number in all of NHTSA’s research is that of the 4,323 motorcyclists killed in 2011, 33% (1426) of the riders were under the influence of alcohol. That’s almost 1 in 3 fatal motorcycle accidents attributed to drinking and riding.

Ride safe people.

  • Sean Tempère

    Strange how they didn’t include narcotics, i remember earing that prescription drugs abuse in the US was becoming concerning (and i’m sure some drivers/riders also use illegal drugs).

    Maybe the “alcohol” section is really a “driving under the influence” one.
    Anyway, the 1/3 number is crushing, people are idiots.

    • Guest

      I dunno. If you don’t know what percentage of riders on the road are drunk, then you can’t say for sure that the “1/3 of riders who died were drunk” doesn’t mean that drunk riding is safer.

      /devilsadvocate

    • socalutilityrider

      you wouldn’t believe the amount of drivers here in san diego that are high all the time on pot. i don’t understand why i don’t hear about more cases of these guys being locked up for it at traffic stops.

      had a high driver pull right into my lane last week going over sixty mph. he would of taken me out if i had swerved violently. for a split second, we made eye contact and the guy was so impaired, bloodshot eyes, the whole deal, that i couldn’t believe he was on the road at all. he and his buddy were just driving around, being high.

  • mrtasty

    “More than 42% (1,998) of motorcyclists in 2011 were killed in two
    vehicle accident”

    Does that mean 42% of all cyclists were killed in two vehicle accidents two years ago? I can’t imagine anyone would ride if that were the case.

    • Yuri Grinshteyn

      No, 42% of all motorcycle fatalities occurred in two-vehicle accidents.

      • mrtasty

        Yep. I was pointing out the ambiguity in the writing. Stats are tough.

  • Matt Mason

    I’m 22 and ride sober… I must be invincible!!!!

    Oh wait I still gotta watch out for a soccer mom turning left at an intersection and killing me…shit.

  • JP

    “The really scary part of all these statistics is that 42% of motorcycle
    riders who died in single vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2011 had blood
    alcohol levels (BAC) of 0.8g/dL or higher.”

    No, that is the reassuring part.

    • Davidabl2

      There’s few more stats it’d be good to know–just so we can be sure it’s not apples and oranges we’re comparing here. One in particular is cyclist vs motorist D.U.I. deaths (especially in places likeTX which seem to have an entrenched drinkin’n'drivin’ culture)
      Overall what we have here is a profile of injured/dying cyclists without knowing how much it differs from the profile of injured/dying motorists. Particularly the drivers of sports car and high performance trucks, the vehicles most directly comparable to motorcycles. And whose numbers I suspect are closer to motorcyclists estimated 35% speeding-related deaths than the 22% estimate for passenger cars in general.

      • Tim Watson

        Thanks for your interest. The objective of my story was to report on the NHTSA’s findings on motorcycle riders only. You can check out the NHTSA report from 2011 on motorists at this link – http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811776.pdf – and it too makes pretty grim reading.

        • Davidabl2

          I guess I’ll have to do my homework after all.

    • akaaccount

      Here here

  • http://twitter.com/mchale2020 Jordan

    I don’t even have the nerve to drunk text an ex, nonetheless ride a motorcycle.

  • Will Mederski

    “The really scary part of all these statistics is that 42% of motorcycle riders who died in single vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2011 had blood alcohol levels (BAC) of 0.8g/dL or higher.”

    “However, the staggering number in all of NHTSA’s research is that of the 4,323 motorcyclists killed in 2011, 33% (1426) of the riders were under the influence of alcohol. ”

    let me see if this makes sense:
    42% of single vehicle deaths involved a drunk rider.
    33% of two vehicle deaths involved a drunk rider.

    that would mean that 75% of riders who died were drunk.

    yikes.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Holy shit.

    • nick2ny

      No, your math doesn’t make sense. Reread the last paragraph of the article.

      • Will Mederski

        ok, so 33% of ALL deaths were drunk riders.

        and 42% of single vehicle deaths were drunk riders.

        i’m just trying to visualize how those stats are ‘nested.’
        to compare them i guess i would need the % of accidents that are single vehicle.

        • Tim Watson

          Will – the number of riders in single vehicle crashes in 2011 was 1,997. Of those, according to the NHTSA figures, 42% (838) had BAC levels of 0.8g/dL or higher. Hope this helps.

          • Will Mederski

            yes! thanks.

        • FGomes

          It just means that if you died on a single vehicle crash, you had a higher chance of being drunk than the average dead rider.

          Or it just means you have to be a bigger idiot to die in a single vehicle crash (i.e you’re drunk)

      • Kevin West

        Nick is right, the 33% figure in the last paragraph is regarding all of motorcycle deaths. So 33% of riders who died were drunk.

    • Kelly Black

      I wonder of the other 25%, how many of those the driver of the cage was drunk?

  • Chet Rowles

    Hooray us :

  • Kevin

    Bar-hopping Harley culture. Let’s call a spade a spade here. This is the same crowd that doesn’t want to wear helmets or protective gear. And this isn’t a hit on the bike, it’s a hit on the culture. It’s like a mobile Darwin award convention.

    • Davidabl2

      Except that many/most have already reproduced.
      Actually a problem with many/most “Darwinawards”

  • Kidchampion

    If only we could see the stats to see how many of those 40-yr old + alcohol fatalities were riding Harleys. I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper a few years ago asking if they could please add more detail and more follow-up info to their reports of motorcycle accidents. Reports such as : 50-yr old rider fails to stay on the exit ramp and hits a tree at 2am. We can suppose that’s much more of an alcohol related death than a motorcycle related death. And as I pointed out in my letter: ” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 1.7 million hospital infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year.” Compared to 4,000 motorcycle fatalities – that means visiting the hospital is likely to be the deadliest part of a motorcycle accident.

    • madmusk

      That’s an interesting point but I thought I’d look up the numbers to see if it’s true.

      The CDC reports 35.1 million hospital inpatient discharges per year. Hospital outpatient visits are another 100 million and emergency department is an additional 230 million. If you assume that every hospital visit is an opportunity to contract an infection you are twice as likely to die riding your motorcycle this year than die of an infection because of one visit to the hospital. Of course that would mean that a single ride is many times safer than a single hospital visit.

      • Kidchampion

        Exactly. I’ll choose the single ride and not the hospital visit every time.

  • dontay

    OK, does drinking and driving occur mostly on the weekend? Does this mean that riding during the week is safer?

    • nick2ny

      Soitenly.

  • Kr Tong

    Motorcycling is a fatally dangerous sport. No statistics or journalist has ever done the facts justice, and it sucks even more seeing how tight and connected the community is; Every week I read stories about how the same rider I met last week was life-flight-ed to the ER and either died or suffered more injuries than their medical insurance covers. Crashing and seeing pretty bikes as yard sales is a daily occurrence. I can’t ride my favorite roads hard anymore because behind the blind turn I fear some rider I know will be laying unconscious in the middle of the road.

    And blame it on the alcohol or inexperience but riding safe is still a lot like a fly trying not to die young.

    • Mark D

      I believe the good Doctor said it best: “The final measure of any rider’s skill is the inverse ratio of his preferred Traveling Speed to the number of bad scars on his body. It is that simple: If you ride fast and crash, you are a bad rider. And if you are a bad rider, you should not ride motorcycles.”

      • Kr Tong

        That may be the case on the track, but no amount of experience will save you when an oncoming car turns into your path. Happens way more than you think.

        • Kevin

          I stick to touring. Riding city streets on a bike is hair-raising. “YOU CAME OUT OF NOWHERE!!!” Right. Nowhere. The ability of the average motorist not to see a motorcycle is frightening.

          • Mark D

            Doubly so on a bicycle. And then, I only have on a tiny helmet. And I go, at points, just as fast on the bicycle as on the bike in the city!

            I guess we’re all just nuts.

            • Kr Tong

              Its just not the same on a bicycle. I’ve been an avid cyclist for longer than I’ve ridden motorcycles and the peril just isnt there. Even when protected by only .5 mm of lycra I can still let my hair down, so to speak.

              On the freeway in decent commuter traffic I’m counting SECONDS between cars cutting me off.

              • Kelly Black

                More bicycle riders are killed in California by “right hooks” in traffic than I care to count. Considering that the ratio of cycle riders to bicyclists is pretty offset, it looks to me like it’s actually MORE dangerous, judging from http://www.everybicyclistcounts.org/site/map

                In fact, I think because I ride a bike you can hear pretty easily, I’d say I’m a lot less likely to get the hook.

                • Kr Tong

                  Not to say you’re wrong but I don’t see any data on how many cyclists there are in total on the road.

                • Kelly Black

                  To be honest Kr Tong I thought you’d already looked at the stats. Regardless, my point is doing anything in a metro is stupid, be that roller blading, or riding a street bike. With the numbers of texting drivers out there I’d rather be riding in Texas, at least the drunks are pretty singleton on the highway, the “I’m going to switch three lanes on accident while texting” are in abundance.

                • Kr Tong

                  I have looked into the stats and there’s no official number for how many cyclists are on the road. You can observe there being far more cyclists than motorcyclists, and yet motorcyclists are injured and die more in America, and my own state. My personal experience reflects this as this month alone I’ve been near to more motorcycle injuries and deaths than 15 years of cycling combined.

                  And while someone can argue that being in a street is stupid dangerous, no matter how you’re doing it, folks gotta get to work and go places. There’s no question a bicycle is a safer way to do it.

        • Mark D

          Oh I know it happens, for sure. My good friend just the other day got left-turned-into by a cab up here in SF at about 30 mph. Only broke her little finger (wearing full gear for her commute), but wrecked her beloved ’91 Honda Hawk.

    • enzomedici

      Not really. 4,323 fatalities / 8,437,502 registered motorcycles and your chance of death is .05%. If you actually have a license, don’t speed and don’t drive drunk, you are down to about half of that so about .025% chance of death on a motorcycle. Your chance of death on a motorcycle are very slim.

      • Kr Tong

        If you’re comparing yearly fatalities to registered motorcycles, then the odds of you dying this year in a motorcycle crash are .05%….. whether you’re riding or not. If you own TWO motorcycles then your odds are double as high… In other words, comparing fatalities to vehicle registration numbers is not very useful.

        You are 2000% more likely to crash on a motorcycle than in a car. If you ride as much as I do, you are guaranteed to crash more than once in your life. You will be injured, possibly severely, possibly enough that you die.

        If you have any doubt about what I’m saying you should NOT be riding a motorcycle.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Good advice.

  • JoeBar79

    And this is what I heard on the radio this morning: “Costs of motorcycle accidents have risen in states without helmet laws.”
    Whaaaaat?????

  • Kevin Schrage

    So I arrested a guy a few days ago for DUI on his Harley. At 11:45pm he thinks its a good idea to rap his straight pipes at a 4 way stop in a residential neighborhood, while I’m on the other side of the intersection in a marked squad.

    Whip a U-turn, pull him over.

    He staggers off the bike when we stop. I ask why all the noise so late. “I didn’t see you, you came out of nowhere man.” As soon as I get downwind of him all I smell is whiskey.
    Fast forward through the next 45 min of SFSTs, handcuffs, and cries of “But I’m a block from home!”
    All said and done he blows a .201
    As we’re leaving the station on the way to the county jail he spies his Harley on the back of the flatbed wrecker being put in the impound yard.

    “Your not going to leave my bike outside!?! That’s a $22,000 bike, what if it gets wet!?!”
    He had no cycle endorsement, wasn’t wearing a helmet, was drunk, but was worried he bike might get water spots. I just rolled my eyes and kept driving.

    • Afonso Mata

      From a Law Enforcement Officer, what are your thoughts on “Helmet-Enforcing Laws”?
      Pardon my bad english, but i’m from Europe and it makes me itch all over my body when i see or read something about someone riding without a helmet.

    • nick2ny

      Seems that was a punitive impound in that situation. It’s just rubbing salt in the wound. If it’s a block away, why not leave it or have a relative retrieve it? Maybe just tow it to his house. I personally would have pushed it there for him. 45 mins of SFSTs? Can’t you just have him blow and arrest him?

    • Mark D

      Jesus, a .201?! I can’t even operate a phone at a .201. Thanks for (hopefully) teaching that guy a (relatively) cheap lesson on responsible driving.

  • Afonso Mata

    What really makes no sense to me, from an European point of view is the following quote: “NHTSA’s figures also show that in 2011 of the 4000 plus motorcycle riders killed on the roads in the U.S. 40% were not wearing a helmet.”
    Isn’t this enough for your federal government to issue a law to enforce helmet wearing?

    • 80-watt Hamster

      No. And I’m okay with that. I shake my head at helmetless riders as much as the next person, but the amount of “for your own good” legislation already on the books is depressing.

      • Davidabl2

        Actually it’s as much for the taxpayers benefits as for anybody else. Taxpayers who’ve already spent a boatload of money educating them hope to get it back from them paying taxes during the rider’s working careers. After the wrecks taxpayers wind up spending boatloads more money on unreimbursed emergency medical expenses, surgery & rehab and then disability payments. Of course if the helmetless rider dies at the scene, these are less of a financial burden, and a helmeted rider who survives will be more expensive..unless he recovers completely and becomes a taxpayer again :-)

        • 80-watt Hamster

          Maybe so, but I still feel the taxpayer burden angle is a bit of a misdirection to make the do-what-we-say-because-we-say-so pill go down easier.

          And that’s all I have to say about that. (It’s not, but this argument never goes well.)

          • Davidabl2

            As you say, sure there are probably NannyState advocates that believe “just because” and Insurance companies as well ..but ask yourself who winds up holding the bag. John Q. Public, who else?

      • Afonso Mata

        C’mon man! Are you 4 real?
        Does it make sense any sense that you are required by law to wear a seat belt on a car, and not required by law to wear a helmet on a bike?

        • 80-watt Hamster

          Yes, I am. And no, it doesn’t. But while your conclusion is that since we have seatbelt laws, hemet laws should follow, I’m of the opposing view: that we shouldn’t have the seatbelt laws either. And yes, I wear mine.

          • Afonso Mata

            I guess only the whole “land of the free, home of the brave” can justify that point of view: people are free to do whatever they want and they’re brave enough not to wear a helmet.
            Well, i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree ;)
            Cheers mate

            • akaaccount

              Nah, it’s cool man. Here in the US, health care costs are shouldered by the individual. So when some idiot in a bandana cracks his skull open and drools on a bib for the remainder of his life it doesn’t cost American society at large anything. Nope, doesn’t increase costs for the rest of us one bit, no sirree.

      • the antagonist

        I agree in theory; if people want to be dumb and risk their lives, let them. But, unfortunately the rest of us are paying for it. For instance, when Florida repealed it’s helmet laws, the number of catastrophic head injuries unsurprisingly skyrocketed. The costs exceed the vast majority of riders’ insurance (assuming they had any) and the taxpayers were left with the bill. And other riders are paying in the form of higher premiums.

        I’m all for individual liberties and letting people be stupid if they so choose, but not when the rest of us are footing the bill.

  • ticticticboom

    I don’t ride under the influence and i don’t ride at night. Ever. What terrifies me are all the texting talking drivers that don’t see me and don’t seem to care. Now I can add, I don’t ride in the suburbs to my list.

  • mulderdog

    fun read, thanks Tim !!

    There seem to be some math people out there :

    I have a license, insurance,registration

    4-5 riding seminar type days ( ongoing edu.)

    no drinkin’

    full helmet, lots of gear, always.

    mostly do not ride beyond my ability ( I mean we all have to push our abilities to learn/improve, but lets leave it that I learn “slowly !” )

    so what are my odds of crashing/dying big time ?

    Its not that I don’t acknowledge the inherent danger – I just don’t think my odds suck.

    Could a math whiz actually come up with an approximation of such a figure ?!

    • Kelly Black

      Very well said! I’m right there with you!

      Drinking = 00.0
      Gear = ATGATT or “All The Gear All The Time”!

      :P

  • Carcrash

    … California third with 386 of which 22% of riders who died were under the influence of alcohol. …

    A typical year sees 52 people die on the Angeles Crest, about 13% of the total on that 30 miles of twisty asphalt.

  • Kr Tong

    Nobody’s commented on the Full Throttle picture reference. That was my favorite game as a kid.

  • nick2ny

    Curtis, let’s say jail time and loss of driving privileges are the punishment for drunk driving. Towing a vehicle–in this case (1 block from home)–just seems annoying. No? Do you think there should be no end to the hassle and annoyance of getting a drunk driving charge?

    • Kelly Black

      He’s a cop, what did you expect?

    • bluemoco

      I’m giving Kevin the benefit of the doubt. We can’t tell from his post if the drunk guy was truly “a block from home”. The drunk rider may have been trying (unsuccessfully) to plead his way out of the DUI by claiming that he only had a little further to travel.

      Either way, I have no sympathy.

    • the antagonist

      What are they supposed to do?

      One: They can’t drive his bike home for him. That would open them up to all kinds of liability if there is any kind of accident or damage.

      Two: He blew a .201. Are you going to take his word about only being 2 blocks away from home? At that blood alcohol level, I wouldn’t even know what state I was in.

      I agree, impounding the bike sucks. But at that point it’s the only rational option.

  • enzomedici

    Don’t speed, don’t drink & drive, and get a motorcycle license and your chances of getting killed on a motorcycle are very slim it seems.

  • anthony spotti

    i cant believe no one said anything about the image used in this peice… Full Throttle was a great game!!!

  • wpjmurray

    Figures, pro-biker crowd blaming the cops for doing their job and keeping the streets safe while also getting a loud jerk off the road at night. I’m sure this idiot is one of the “loud pipes save lives” victim-players while he rides drunk.

  • wpjmurray

    I wish that there more more (or any) statistics on how many of the accidents involved motorcycles that are equipped with loud pipes so we can finally put to rest the myth that “loud pipes save lives.” With the stats reported here, we know that most accidents are due to intoxication and speeding and just about half involve a car. The stats don’t specify if a car was actually at fault, so I would assume that not all motorcycle/car collisions are the fault of the car driver. The loud pipes myth is that the noise lets drivers hear them, but if most of the car collisions involve a car IN FRONT of the cyclist, then the loud pipes don’t have any affect (since they’re pointed backwards and most people can’t determine which direction low-frequency noise is coming from).

    The fact is that loud pipes are not put on as a safety measure, they are installed to project an outlaw/thug image. When I ask loud bikers what other safety devices have they installed they ALWAYS just give a blank look (this is if I even get to this question with them cursing at and threatening me). I have no problem with motorcycles at all, but the loud ones have to go.

  • ed

    After I witnessed 4 people killed on motorcycles, I sold my bike. Having reconstructed over 1000 vehicle accidents for insurance companies, I have concluded that only idiots or insane people ride motorcycles.

  • Ed

    Got a death wish? Ride a motorcycle.

  • GDMace

    I almost bought a bike a couple of months ago but the statistics scared me off. Riding one is about as dangerous as a legal activity gets: even being alert, experienced, and skilled won’t necessarily save you (of course, the same applies to a car to a much lesser degree). Y’all be careful out there.

  • John Sprinklebumj

    I have ridden since was ten years old and would never consider riding without a helmet, ever. Folks across the pond have good reason to doubt the wisdom on not wearing one. I generally do not ride after dark unless I am nearly home or to my destination and can get there within the hour or so. To minimize the inherent dangers of riding a motorcycle, I wear a 3/4 length bright yellow neon jacket, gloves, 9 inch boots and sunglasses during the day. My lights are on high beam during the day when the sun is bright. In my state, 49% or thereabouts of accidents on a motorcycle occur at intersections. Either that left turn in front of me, or some jerk blowing a red light or stop sign, or pulling out at the last second. Knowing that, I am more careful by far at intersections and unmarked driveways. Drinking and driving and riding without a helmet are Darwinian selection at work. These are totally preventable. Some of my personal concerns are the blond driving her SUV tank and texting, not just talking on the phone. I give these folks the entire road. Apparently, the deer that usually move in the early morning and just before dark do not always get the memo, and they spring out without notice here any time of day. Any time a rider can be more visible, is pretty much a good thing and there are things people CAN do to reduce risk. Bright colors, extra reflectors or tape on the bike, a flashing when stopping stop light, heavy ankle and head protection, the list is fairly long. Some states still do not have helmet laws. My sense is they probably should. This is certainly no more invasive than having a seat belt or lights on your car or motorcycle and the like. It is cool to ride with nothing or a bandana on your head, with the wind whipping through the few hairs you have left, but when head meets concrete, asphalt, a tree or vehicle, the head usually loses. A lot of this is simply choices. By making a few better choices, riders will be able to ride yet another day.