What The Latest NHTSA Motorcycle Data Reveals

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For the third consecutive year, the number of U.S. motorcycle fatalities has risen again with 4,957 riders having been killed on the roads in 2012 according the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, 33,561 people lost their lives in road traffic accidents, an increase of 1,082 compared to 2011. Motorcyclists accounted for 14.8% of all highway deaths and saw the largest increase year on year at 7.1% (4,360 riders were killed in 2011).

This is a significant rise, as 10 years ago less than 9% of all road traffic fatalities involved motorcyclists.

NHTSA’s latest findings also revealed that 93,000 riders or their passengers were injured during 2012, another big increase of 15% compared to 81,000 that were hurt in 2011.

Drunk driving fatalities were also up in 2012, with 33,561 alcohol impaired drivers of all vehicle types killed compared to 32,479 in 2011.

However, of the 4,957 motorcycle riders who died during 2012, 1,390 (28%) were found to have been under the influence of alcohol with a BAC level of 0.8 g/Dl or greater. That was fractionally down on the 2011 figures where 1,397 impaired motorcyclists were killed.

As expected, part of the focus of NHTSA’s report looks at rider fatalities involving those wearing crash helmets and those that were not.

In 2012 there were 10 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in states without mandatory helmet laws (a total of 1,858 unhelmeted fatalities). While states with helmet laws saw 178 unhelmeted fatalities.

NHTSA’s report does not specify what type of helmet was being worn by those who died in 2012 and who also accounted for around 59% of all motorcycle fatalities last year.

Finally, of all the 33,561 U.S. highway deaths during 2012 more than 70% of the people who died were men.

For further information about the NHTSA 2012 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview Report go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov

Related Links:
8 Months Ago: What the Latest NHTSA Fatality Statistics Reveal About Motorcycle Safety
NHTSA: Study – Lane Splitting Is Safer
How To: Respond When Hit By A Car

  • Kevin

    So 40% of the deaths are unhelmeted riders. Would be interesting to see how many were unhelmeted *and* drunk.

    That said, here in So Cal I know a lot of sport riders are dying in the mountains and canyons with full gear on in solo accidents from blowing turns. I wonder if those kind of accidents are going up or down these days.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Statistically speaking, such sport riding deaths are relatively rare.

      • Stuki

        Was there a breakdown of accident type in the report? Single vehicle vs crash; head on vs tbone etc.? Freeway vs surface street; urban vs rural vs suburban vs “canyon”? Speed limits at the accident site? Actual speed traveled by bike and surrounding traffic?Time of day/week (rush hour/daytime/weekend/nighttime?) Weather conditions? Riders’ age and perhaps experience? Gear (color/ATGATT…)

        All of which would be more interesting than the same old tired repetition of helmets and loud pipes; as if slamming into cars at 80 is somehow perfectly OK as long as if one wears a plastic lid on one’s head and makes a lot of noise doing it…..

    • TheUst

      That statistic of universal helmet law states vs non is just stunning. After reading that, someone must be drunk to not wear one.

      • HammSammich

        To be fair, that statistic is pretty meaningless in this context. As far as I can tell, all it shows is that there is a very high rate of compliance w/ helmet laws (for seemingly apparent reasons).

        • Justin McClintock

          Agreed. While I’ll always wear a helmet, the statistics shown above didn’t tell me a thing about how effective they are, just whether or not people actually use them in states that require their use.

          • toadyc

            Agreed. They needed to compare the % of motorcycle deaths (of all road traffic deaths) in states with helmet laws vs. states without helmet laws. Presumably, the states with helmet laws would have a lower percentage. Even better, they would get the % of motorcycle deaths (of all motorcycle riders) in states with helmet laws vs. states without helmet laws, but that data is probably not readily available.

        • appliance5000

          1000% is a big number. I’d say it strongly suggests that helmets are a good thing.

          • Stuki

            A million is a big number too. Sans context, it says very little.

            • appliance5000

              I might be missing something but the context is “how many people died in states with helmet laws vs. no helmet laws”. assuming most people have the same foibles wherever they are: drinking, speeding, not wearing underwear , we can eliminate those variables.

              Also – states with partial,or no, helmet laws comprise maybe 20% of the population and tend to be vastly unpopulated with endless miles of empty roads.

              So if you want to say the report is off by even 50% for special exceptions – you’re still at 500% greater death rate; still a big number.

              I think it’s safe to say that wearing a helmet is a fine idea.

              I’ll go further and say that my shallow analysis goes deeper than most people care to ,and that this statistic alone probably keeps many people from riding. This in turn, keeps manufacturers from investing as much as the might otherwise in the US market. Which pisses me off because I’d really like to test ride the new cb650f.

      • Kenny VanWormer

        and, just because they weren’t wearing a helmet does not suggest they died from head trauma. How many accidents were going to be a fatality whether they were wearing a helmet or not?

        • Justin McClintock

          True. If you get run over by an 18 wheeler and your liver is a smear across, you no longer have a rib cage but rather 763 rib pieces, and your spleen is 33 feet away, it really doesn’t matter if you were wearing a helmet or not.

    • Justin Christenson

      With the number of great road courses open for track days in So Cal it surprises me that so many people still feel the need to ride 10/10ths on the street. I mean…I get it. I love going fast too, but having a consistent road surface free of debris and with tons of run-off and air-fences is way more worth it to me.

      • Stuki

        Well, if you insist on riding a bike that is soo optimized for going fast, that it is too uncomfortable to make the 50 mile trip to the nearest track day on……….. :)

        • Justin Christenson

          Rent a u-haul trailer, go to a track day. Have fun, go fast, and you still get to go to work on Monday in one piece. Here in Western Washington we have two (TWO!) tracks to go to and plenty of people take advantage of the track days instead of ending up as salvage on the side of the highway. Of course there are still people who don’t, but therein lies my question…why?!

          • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

            Money, pure and simple. It costs more to go to the track than to hit up your favorite road. That said, I never rode 10/10ths on the street, but I still enjoyed myself.
            My favorites when I lived in WA (listed by proximity to my homes in Tacoma then Federal Way) were Hwys 509, 7, 20, NF25&99, etc. I went to Pacific Raceways track-day events twice, but the surface was such crap that I preferred the street (except Downtown Tacoma, LOL!). I never did go to the new track in Shelton before moving to SoCal… I probably would have enjoyed that more.

            • Justin Christenson

              I hear you on the Pacific Raceways surface quality. In the wet that place is particularly interesting because you never know when the rear tire is gonna get tossed in the air by the uneven surface. On the other hand, The Ridge, down in Shelton is a wonderland for cars and bikes. The surface is immaculate, the course is interesting, and the run-offs are large and forgiving.

    • bainelaker

      Really? I rarely hear of fatalities up in the canyons. Crashes, sure, injuries, yep. Helped out a crashee last week on ACH, in fact. But I don’t think there’s been a fatality on ACH, GMR, Mulholland, Piuma, or anything at all this year. Ortega has had a few, though. I may be absolutely mistaken, though – I just know what I see, hear, or get reported on the “Biker Down” facebook page I admin at.

      • Kevin

        I’m most familiar with Ortega and Palomar because I live in OC, but I admit it’s all anecdotal.

    • enzomedici

      If you look at YouTube, 1/2 of California motorcycle riders can’t even ride around Dead Man’s Curve on Mullholland Drive without crashing at basic speeds it seems. I’ve ridden my Harley around there plenty of times with no issue. I’m not sure where these sportbike kids learned how to ride, but they need to go to California Superbike School.

      • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

        The riders who successfully navigate that curve aren’t as interesting to watch because it’s the same over and over again: rider rides successfully through curve without crashing.
        Crashes are more interesting, partially due to their relative rarity.

  • TheUst

    I think the drunk driver related fatalities is supposed to be 10,322 up from 9,865 since last year.

    Be safe out there guys!

  • jpan08

    What’s being done on a national scale about bike safety and awareness?
    Also curious to see how other states without lanes splitting compare to CA

    • Chris Davis

      I don’t think we will get anything meaningful about lane splitting when comparing states, but an earlier report of accident situations within California showed motorcyclists were over 3x more likely to be injured being struck from behind than while splitting which I think is the primary advantage of splitting. This is more relevant than an interstate comparison because it eliminates all state-to-state variables. The safety advantage is proven but most non-riders I know even in California don’t believe it, so good luck to the other 49.

  • Justin Christenson

    Do all states currently require or endorse motorcycle safety training courses? If not, then I would love to see some stats showing the number of fatalities in states that require it vs. those that don’t.

    • Rob M

      That seems to be two separate questions. I know many states don’t require safety courses. Pass a riding/written test and you’re done.

      • Justin Christenson

        Its the same here in Washington. I guess a simpler question would be how does the fatality rate compare among training course graduates versus those who simply passed the state test?

  • luxlamf

    I would like to know the % of people injured or killed wearing those DOT 1/2 helmets that do nothing but make the rider look dopey and offer little protection.

    • forking

      I prefer DOT5 for high-temperature performance.

  • toni796

    us must be the only western country that has more deaths in 2012 than in any previous year
    my country is really small only 4.5mil people but in the last 10 years we always have 3-5% less deaths on motorcycles

    • deuce_sluice

      States keep repealing mandatory helmet laws, because Freedom.

      • shaun

        was going to say this. We can’t get mandatory helmet laws in SC due to everyone bitching about government interference at the sake of Freedom. It’s mind boggling.

        • Michael Howard

          What’s mind boggling is that some people aren’t content with wearing a helmet but feel the need/right to force others to do so as well. Do you really want the government or anyone else deciding how you should live your life? Seriously?

          • Booger

            Oh fergawdsake, the government already decides lots of stuff, stuff that we the people have told it to do on our behalf. This is a trivial argument and demeans the term ‘freedom.’ 31+ years of helmeted riding.

          • shaun

            That’s not dictating how to live your life, it’s hardly intervention. It’s safety. The majority of riders I come across that argue it’s government intervening with their lives, really already have it out for the “government” and they’ll bitch about anything new, no matter how small. It’s putting on a helmet. It takes 5 seconds. I wear one regardless of the lack of a law in my state. Seriously.

            • James Andersson

              Agree, it’s just so obvious that helmets should be mandatory, only in America would this randomly invoked concept of freedom matter so much.

              • Piglet2010

                Safety laws prevent a useful thinning of the herd, and interfere with improvement of the species through natural selection.

          • Jay Hartley

            It’s actually a question of insurance — should the rest of society pay for your “right” to not wear a helmet through higher medical insurance and motorcycle insurance premiums? In other words, if you go down and have a serious head injury and are on life support for 30 years, will you be picking up the bill for many $100k’s of medical expenses? Most likely not — it will be the insurance companies, which will spread those costs on to everyone else. Should others be required to pay more just so you can feel the wind in your hair?
            Motorcycling is an inherently more dangerous activity than driving a car, and it’s enjoyed by a significant minority of the population. We should be thankful the majority doesn’t care enough to ban it entirely, because they could. I think it’s a fair tradeoff to wear a helmet to show some respect for and responsibility toward society, since it only marginally impacts the enjoyment of riding a bike. The recent move toward not requiring helmets is I think a very bad move to take by the motorcycle lobbies, as rising death statistics will only bring more unfavorable attention from the non-motorcycle majority.

            • Jay

              In America, there are hundreds of thousands of obesity related deaths per year. There are hundreds of thousands of smoking related deaths. There are 80,000+ alcohol related deaths. If you want to talk about a personal choice leading to cost to insurance/society, Motorcycle helmets should be pretty low on the list.

              I would NEVER ride without a helmet, but that’s my choice.

              • appliance5000

                But this is a motorcycle blog not a diet blog – let’s talk helmets.

            • Stuki

              If, and to the extent, insurance companies charges you for the risk of others, it is only due to government interference. Competition would very quickly drive such folly out of existence absent the kind of mandatory this and that coverage laws the busybodies and their well indoctrinated drones are cheer leading.

              And, as a secondary benefit, we would get accurate statistics regarding the true risk and cost of riding helmeted vs not as well. Instead of politically motivated babble spewed in endless attempts to sway aforementioned drones to cheer just a little louder for our overlords.

              Sans Massa Gommiment, if you took out a policy covering injuries incurred riding helmeted, and crashed sans helmet, your insurance company would pay you nothing. And you would die. And that is that. While simultaneously, some insurance company would offer to cover you even if riding unhelmeted. And you compare the best quote for either kind of coverage. Which would actually tell you something meaningful. And make you less of a drone. Which would probably suck for those who prefer their lackeys to remain unquestioning drones beholden to their “representatives”, but benefit everyone else.

            • Piglet2010

              I would be fine with allowing insurance companies to write policies that are only valid if the rider has a certain level of gear.

              My compromise for least amount of head protection when riding is a Bell Revolver EVO (which I always have the chin bar down on when riding).

        • wbizzle

          I do not get too concerned about helmet laws, but from a political perspective it seems that if helmets laws were accompanied by lane-splitting, for example, that would give motorcyclists more freedom, no? Maybe argue it that way. So exchange a little freedom with regards to helmets, and see a big leap in freedom with regard to lane-splitting as I am no longer stuck in traffic. So the five seconds it takes to put a helmet on is made up by all the extra time I save from lane-splitting by not wasting time in traffic. Then motorcyclists are safer because they have helmets and they have to worry less about being hit by a vehicle from behind.

          • shaun

            Agree with this. But asking for lane splitting is damn near impossible where I live. I want it absolutely. It makes sense to allow. But the motorcycle culture in SC (mostly comprised of squids and old school Harley rebels) have already ruined it for the rest of us.

            Maybe I should move. haha

            • wbizzle

              Yeah, pie in the sky stuff I am asking for. I don’t see how we can’t get on board with lane splitting.

            • Piglet2010

              I want a law that allows lane-splitting, but only if you are wearing a full-face helmet and hi-viz protective gear.

          • Piglet2010

            That (combined helmet and lane-splitting law) was tried in Illinois, and ABATE lobbying killed the bill.

            • wbizzle

              I don’t know much concerning the history of lane splitting/helmet/whatever else bills and laws, but my guess is they, ABATE, would do the same in other places as well.

              I have not always felt this way about helmet laws but so much recent thoughtful discussion here and other places as helped me frame it this way. Whatever that is worth.

              • Piglet2010

                Of course, most ABATE members are weekend warriors on heavy cruisers, and not transportation-minded motorcyclists riding more nimble bikes to work every day, so they probably do not miss, or even resent, lane-splitting.

                • Chris Cope

                  I once wrote to ABATE of MN to ask their opinion of lane splitting. Their state coordinator said the issue almost never came up in ABATE circles and went on to suggest they wouldn’t really be in favor of it because (and this is an actual quote): “It is important to remember that the average motorist in Minnesota is not as talented as those in California.”

        • Rob M

          The only use I see for a helmet law is helping the young and/or ignorant wear helmets. Some kid who just wants to be cool and doesn’t realize his own mortality should probably be forced to wear a helmet. Some 50 year old, who should know better and just wants to look cool, go for it.

          With or without helmet laws, I still sport one.

  • zion

    “In 2012 there were 10 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in states without mandatory helmet laws (a total of 1,858 unhelmeted fatalities). While states with helmet laws saw 178 unhelmeted fatalities.”

    While this is an interesting number, it would be appropriate to include how many helmeted riders died in helmet mandatory states vs. no helmet states for a better comparison.

    (I’m pro helmet, but using the numbers above doesn’t give the full picture.)

    • deuce_sluice

      Agreed, I read the article multiple times trying to see where I missed that number, assuming it’d be in there somewhere.

    • Tim Watson

      Good point. But these are just the headlines of the initial report from 2012 that NHTSA has released. It has not given us that break down yet. That will come in the first quarter of next year when there will be a specific breakdown of all the data by State on motorcycle deaths and injuries in 2012.

      • Chris Davis

        Hopefully they will have some statistics involving deaths per ‘x’ miles travelled. That removes a lot of variables.

  • mikki sixx

    BAC of 0.08%, not 0.8%. Bonham had a ~0.3% when he kicked it.

    • mikki sixx


    • wbizzle

      Call me naive, but still a little surprised by alcohol related deaths.

      • Jack Meoph

        srsly, r u that stupid to think that you aren’t impaired after drinking? How many PSA’s does it take before the moron is driven out of your thick skull?

        • mikki sixx

          Maybe he meant that its curious that folks will ride/ drive at all when drinking?

          • Jack Meoph

            I wasn’t talking about wbizzle, I was talking about any ahole that drinks then gets on a bike, gets in a car, or anything else. The term murderer comes to mind whenever I hear about someone causing a death while drinking and driving.

            • wbizzle

              Agreed Jack, it is completely ridiculous!

    • Piglet2010

      I had a parked car destroyed by being hit by a women driver who was wandering around afterwards completely clueless as to what she had done, where she was, or even who she was. Police report came back that she was 0.4% BAC – surprised she did not die from alcohol poisoning.

      • Benjamin Reynolds

        Damn! .4%?! Her blood had the same BAC as my bottle of Vodka!

        • James Jamerson

          Your Vodka is fractionally .4 alcohol ( = 40%), Her blood was fractionally .004 alcohol (= 0.4%). Or possibly your kids drank most of it and replaced it with water so you wouldn’t notice.

          • Benjamin Reynolds

            Your correct, I didn’t read it properly.

            • Piglet2010

              Back then it was 4 times the legal limit – now it would be 5 times the limit.

              I bought a personal breathalyzer, and I am quite silly and uncoordinated at 0.12% BAC, and do not ride until down to 0.02% (one-quarter the legal limit) or less.

  • Joseph42s

    Here is something interesting.

    I have read a ton on these subjects as I am also a cyclist. Comparing now to the late 90′s (pre twittering cagers)

    Interesting Facts:

    Motorcylcist’s deaths have nearly doubled since the late 90′s.

    Cycling deaths have remained about level. ( just slightly lower)

    Almost as many Pedestrians died as motorcyclist (use that next time someone says they would rather walk because its safer)

    I agree a detailed analysis of fatal accidents should be taken on by the industry. Let us know if we are doing the right or wrong things to protect ourselves.

    Here is the link to my source:


  • Felipe Ruas

    i bought my helmet before my bike hahahah! unhelmeted riders are completely assholes!

  • Adam

    Ok, so since I wear a helmet and dont ride drunk I think I’m doing pretty good. Now if I should just figure out how to turn myself into a woman I’d be damn near invincible…

    • criminalenterprise

      While the data aren’t of high enough quality to give precise percentages, the blurry picture it paints looks like this: if you wear full face, ride sober and well within your limits (lots of CFIT while target fixating on a tree and not being confident enough to really lean the bike) and the limits of your machine, and have ABS, your chances of biting it are probably the same as an average driver in a car.

  • appliance5000

    And that’s govt. subsidized as is the sugar industry.

  • Kenny VanWormer

    They’re comparing numbers from 10 years ago, there weren’t as many motorcycles and riders 10 years ago. Also, out of those unhelmeted fatalities, how many were from head trauma? how many were going to be a fatality, with or without a helmet on? How many were new riders with no experience or little experience? These findings mean nothing, other then they know how to count the numbers.

    • Tim Watson

      4,957 deaths in one year means quite a lot to me. The full in-depth report specifically on motorcycle deaths and injuries in 2012 ,as I have posted below, will be out in the first quarter of 2014.

      • Piglet2010

        Unless the numbers are normalized to something, they are just data and not useful information.

  • Chris Cope

    Don’t be drunk, wear a helmet and be a lady. Well, two out of three.

  • Benjamin Reynolds

    I wear my helmet 100% of the time, but personally don’t agree with helmet laws. It should be a choice. Also, if we’re going to make helmets optional, can we have seat belts as option sometime soon?

  • Charlie
    • Dan543

      That is a part of it. Another part is personal liability for the motorist who is involved in a car/bike mishap. Setting aside fault… The consequences for not only the biker but also for the motorist, both financial and emotional, are so much higher if a non-helmeted rider suffers TBI. Hypothetical: you turned left in front of a biker because you weren’t paying attention, he was wearing all black pirate gear, sunspots, whatever. Living with the guilt of turning another human being into a cripple, vegetable, or corpse would be tough.

      Thanks for posting the ink to the economist

  • grahluk

    Will be curious to see a breakdown and analysis of that data. As a very non scientific opinion I think there are things that contribute to motorcycle accidents & injuries that have increased in the last few years.

    1. Distracted/texting drivers. I swear, people on the road want to do just about anything other than the act of alert driving. Maybe it’s our scatter brain attention addled society where people can’t do any one thing without getting fidgety looking for some other diversion.

    2.Maybe it’s how car technology has removed the sensation of operating a heavy machine at speed with the comfort of the interior, driving aids (power/automatic everything), and general performance and stability of modern vehicles. Take your average texting soccor mom and put her at the wheel of a 50′s era American pickup truck. Vinyl bench seat, standard transmission on the floor, heavy clutch, no power brakes, no power steering, no cocooning sound absorbing headliner & interior panels. Your average mall bred ditz would pull over after 10 miles of driving such a vehicle at 40mph and calling up their health insurance applying for PTSD coverage. Face it. Modern vehicle development has transformed the act of driving and car’s interior environment to mimic lounging at home in your living room with the resulting level of engagement of the operators.

    3. Bikes have become bigger and heavier in some market segments and more powerful in almost all. They’ve all become MORE! but we have not as riders. The point where many people consider a 600cc supersport or 450lb cruiser a starter bike is ludicrous. People who’ve never ridden mini or dirt bikes as kids or got around to school on a 125 or moped growing up come into riding as adults and go straight for their objects of lust with no prior ability. Used to be a 500 was considered a big bike. Now it’s below contempt for many. So all these bikes that are requiring riders to deal with greater forces in shorter time intervals can’t be helping.

  • Generic42

    Here is what I find ironic about living in Colorado. We have a Click it or Ticket campaign around the holidays, you can be pulled over and ticketed for no seat belt (without another violation) yet we don’t have a helmet law. In my opinion if the Government is stating very clearly “seat belts save lives” then why aren’t they applying the same to motorcycles and helmets. I just find that dichotomy very odd as a rider.

    • Chris La Rose

      Actually, no: From the CO DMV site (http://www.dmv.org/co-colorado/safety-laws.php), about a third of the way down the page:
      “Seat belts are mandatory for drivers and all front-seat passengers in Colorado.
      You cannot be pulled over in Colorado for not wearing your seat belt. However, if you’re pulled over for a different traffic violation such as speeding or zooming through a stop sign, a seat belt violation will cost you an extra $65 minimum for adults. If your child is unrestrained, you’ll be fined $82″

      • Generic42

        Ah, I stand corrected. I thought it had changed in the last year, regardless the irony stands.

  • Nate Terrill

    Personally, I live in a non-helmet state. I choose to wear a helmet, but I also support your decision not to do so. One, it lets me identify the morons with a quick glance. Two, freedom means free to be stupid if you wish to be stupid. As long as it’s your life that is on the line and no one else is put in danger, go for it.
    Yes, I understand what it does to insurance rates, etc. I am ok with that.

  • Chris La Rose

    Tim, thanks for this – I work in the field and ride and your two articles on the issue have both sparked a lot of discussion. Keep it up

  • Rob M

    How does the rate of motorcycle deaths compare to the number of riders or motorcycle-miles driven? If there are more motorcycle/riders than there were in 2011, this statistic may not be shocking at all.

  • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

    This again shows that you can make statistics say virtually anything you want if you spin it correctly.

    Here are all of the NHTSA’s Publications & Data related to Motorcycles:

    For example, let’s take a look at the 2011 MOTORCYCLES Traffic Safety Fact Sheet (the latest available complete report):

    They prominently point out in the blue box toward the top on the right “In 2011, 4,612 motorcyclists were killed—a 2-percent increase from the 4,518 motorcyclists killed in 2010.” However, they fail to also point out that there was a 5.3% increase in motorcycle registrations during the same period. Therefore, statistically speaking, the ratio of new motorcycles to fatalities has DECREASED! Looking at the Fatality Rate column in the middle of table 1, you can clearly see that the ratio of fatalities to registered vehicles has actually been decreasing since 2005. I know that new motorcycle registrations doesn’t correlate to new riders, but neither do fatalities.

  • DrRideOrDie

    So, for all the people debating the statistical comparisons, just because someone was wearing a helmet and died does not mean that the injuries sustained that contributed to the death excluded head injury as cause of death. Also because someone wasn’t wearing a helmet, it does not mean that automatically the cause of death was due to traumatic head injury. When the full report is released and they reveal their data gathering methods it can then be figured out if there is such a distinction to be made. Of the roughly 5,000 motorcyclist deaths, roughly 2,000 were non-helmeted riders, which it means the majority of riders who died were wearing a helmet. I’m all for helmets, and always wear one myself. However, statistics can be deceptive when framed in the wrong kind of way.