California motorcycle riders assume a high level of risk each time they ride due to the dangerous nature of motorcycles. While head injuries are a common occurrence in bike crashes, research shows that those who ride on the back of a motorcycle, rather than drive it, are more prone to suffering traumatic brain injuries in motorcycle crashes.
According to Reuters, TBIs are the most common type of injury suffered by anyone riding a motorcycle, regardless of whether a rider is driving the bike or traveling on the back of it. However, head injury risks are higher for bike passengers.
How often motorcyclists and passengers suffer TBIs
Studies reveal that motorcycle passengers experience TBIs in 40% of motorcycle accidents. Yet, those driving the motorcycle only suffer these serious head injuries in about 36% of bike wrecks. There are several variables that may place bike passengers at an elevated risk for a head injury. For starters, they do not have handlebars to hold in the event of a crash, making them more likely to face ejection from the bike than the party driving it.
How helmets affect TBI risks
The helmet-wearing habits of motorcycle drivers and bike passengers also contribute to TBI risks. A helmet plays a significant role in reducing the chances of a brain injury, but only about 57.5% of motorcycle passengers report wearing them on a regular basis. About two-thirds of those who drive the bikes wear helmets regularly, however, making bike drivers statistically less likely to suffer TBIs.
Research shows that alcohol use also plays a role in both how likely a crash is and how likely those traveling on a motorcycle are to wear helmets.