Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends universal motorcycle
helmet laws based on strong evidence of effectiveness.
Facts about Motorcycle Helmets Laws
Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of dying in a crash by about 42% and reduce
the risk of sustaining a head injury by about 69%1. Motorcycle helmet laws require
motorcycle riders to wear a helmet while riding on public roads. In the U.S., these
laws are implemented at the state level with varying provisions and fall into
two categories:
•• Universal helmet laws apply to all motorcycle operators and passengers.
•• Partial helmet laws apply only to certain motorcycle operators such as those
under a certain age (usually 18); novices (most often defined as having less than
one year of experience); or those who do not meet the state’s requirement for
medical insurance coverage. Passengers on motorcycles are not consistently
covered under partial helmet laws.
Systematic Review Findings
•• In U.S. states that replaced universal helmet laws with partial laws:
-- Helmet use declined by a median of 41 percentage points
-- Fatalities increased by a median of 38%
-- Non-fatal head injuries increased by a median of 69%
•• Economic evidence shows that universal motorcycle helmet laws produce substantial economic benefits that greatly
exceed costs.
Learn More
Summary of Evidence and Task Force Finding
CDC Motorcycle Safety Guide
Motorcycle Costs
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
1. Liu BC, Ivers R, Norton R, Boufous S, Blows S, Lo SK. Helmets for preventing injury in motorcycle riders. Cochrane database of systematic reviews 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004333.
The Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) is an independent, nonfederal, unpaid body of public health and prevention experts.
It is congressionally mandated to identify community preventive programs, services, and policies that save American lives and dollars, increase
longevity, and improve quality of life. The Community Guide is a collection of all the evidence-based findings and recommendations of this Task
Force. Find more information at
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides administrative, research, and technical support for the Community Preventive Services Task Force.
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