Riding a motorcycle involves inherent risks, but research shows that risks vary based on whether you are driving the bike or riding as a passenger on the back of it. Traumatic brain injuries are the most common type of injury suffered in bike crashes by both motorcycle drivers and motorcycle passengers. However, passengers face heightened head injury risks compared to those steering the bikes.
According to Reuters, there are several reasons you face a higher risk of a head injury or traumatic brain injury as a motorcycle passenger, as opposed to a motorcycle driver.
How often do drivers and passengers suffer TBIs
A study of roughly 86,000 people involved in motorcycle crashes as either drivers or passengers showed that passengers suffered TBIs in 40% of crashes. Those steering the bikes suffered TBIs in 36% of bike wrecks.
Why passengers are more prone to TBIs
Research shows that you are more likely to wear a helmet when you drive a motorcycle, as opposed to when you ride on the back of one. This is one of the reasons motorcycle passengers are statistically more likely than drivers to suffer a TBI in a motorcycle crash. However, even when both parties wear helmets, risks are more pronounced for the person on the back of the bike. This individual lacks handlebars to hold on to or a windshield to block some of the impacts in a crash.
You may not be able to avoid all risks associated with riding on a motorcycle. However, wearing a helmet, regardless of where you sit on the bike, is an important part of protecting yourself against head and brain injuries.