• Dec 6, 2012
Like it or not, you're thirty times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than in an automobile crash. There's little wondering why. As a rider, you're bouncing around at high velocities in close proximity to stationary objects and machines many times your mass. In a best-case-scenario, going off-bike will see you vying with pavement, other vehicles and your own bike with nothing protect you but some Kevlar, a little leather and a bit of Styrofoam.

According to the Government Accountability Office, 82,000 riders were injured in motorcycle accidents and a 4,502 individuals were killed in crashes. All told, the immediate cost of those downs was $16 billion or more. On average, a fatal motorcycle crash costs around $1.2 million, with non-fatal incidents carrying a price tag of anywhere from $2,500 to $1.4 million depending on rider injuries.

So, what's the solution? According to the GAO, the only measurable way to cut those costs is to mandate helmet use. Helmets reportedly cut the fatality rate of motorcycle crashes by 39 percent, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims helmets prevented 1,550 deaths in 2010. Likewise, the Center for Disease Control says the lids saved the economy a total of $3 billion in those crashes. Seems like cheap insurance to us.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 91 Comments
      protovici
      • 2 Years Ago
      Freedom is expensive and at times dangerous. Happy and safe riding!!
      SpikedLemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      What's the cost of a fatal car crash?
      MAJikMARCer
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm still surprised that insurance companies don't mandate it. They are the ones who usually get stuck with the bill. And if you ride without, even if it's legal in that state, then you forfeit your insurance. Of course that'd never fly because it's cold and heartless and politically incorrect to suggest something like that. No rider with any sense rides thinking they are as safe as they are in a car. It's a known risk. But to ride without a helmet adds, unnecessarily, to that risk. If insurance and healthcare was such that you were 100% responsible for the costs due to an accident and there was no impact on anyone else, then hey, ride naked for all I care, but if your injuries take money out of my wallet, sorry bub, you have to wear a freaking helmet.
      Zippswitch
      • 2 Years Ago
      i ride and spend the money each season on new gear and maintain by bike to keep me safe. riding has made me a better driver. i not only watch for other riders, but i am more aware of my surroundings. ride/drive safe.
      postpast
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you're going to ride and spend a few thousand on a bike; a few hundred on thick jeans, a Joe Rocket jacket and decent helmet is a great investment.
      Drew
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am all for personal safety, but primarily as a mode of self-preservation. I do wonder about these numbers. Generally, fatality is cheaper than morbidity. Being in an accident and surviving often involves long rehab, permanent disability, and extended medical costs. Fatality involves a funeral. I would wager that the numbers they use somehow incorporate an estimated loss of future wages for fatalities. They would generally need to apply the same loss of wages for survivors, as they often cannot work. In addition, those people often receive disability benefits for their injuries. @ andt_george: This has nothing to do universalized healthcare. Like it or hate it, if it came down to saving dollars we would let people smoke and die young, ride motorcycles and die quick, and eat crap and die fat. No, this is an example of an effort to save every possible life. That is it's own issue. I would contend that some degree of morbidity and mortality is inherent in life and one must be self-motivated to protect oneself. Like financial responsibility, personal safety should be an issue of importance to the individual as much as or more so than to the government.
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drew
        they also often calculate costs to society in lost productivity. someone who can work, earn wages, pay taxes and in general contribute to, and be a cog in the economy has value. someone who dies prematurely didn't get to contribute to society and the economic machine. Sounds like the same argument for rationing health care. we should be spending money on saving young people who can't afford health care and not worrying about the old ones who can since they are done contributing to society and the money and energy spent will at best only buy them a few years of non productivity... Machiavellian approach for sure. But if you save the productive motorcyclist then they can keep contributing to society and the economy. not something i subscribe to. just an interpretation.
      IOMTT
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thankfully, my answer to this question is $172 in used Buell parts purchased on Ebay. In over 100,000 total miles of riding in 25 years on over 50 different machines, this is what one medium speed lowside single vehicle accident cost me. My gear saved me any need for a trip to the ER and actually remained in functional condition even though I discarded the helmet anyway. I would never ride without gear, but rider skill and decision making are more valuable than any electronic aids or gear for injury avoidance. If you want to really limit costs due to motorcycle accidents, only let well trained, responsible riders on the road. Everything else is just treating symptoms. Freedom is a wonderful thing when people recognize and accept the responsibility that goes with it.
      Scoobert Scooby
      • 2 Years Ago
      your idiots. "Seems like cheap insurance to us. " what do you know? this is not cheap insurance, its a nanny state. i ride. i never ride without my helmet. however, you should not be able to force people to protect themselves. i mean, this is America. not the damned north Korea. if someone wants to risk their lives, however they want, its their right. don't give us an economic reason for rights suppression. and i don't believe the 1.2 million cost for a death. 1.2 million for what? pick up body, do autopsy, pickup bike, send to auction, sweep the road. 1.2 million? BS
        kingrat001
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scoobert Scooby
        The 1.2 mill comes from all the guys(mostly, it's guys) who spend a while in the ICU before going to a nursing home for a while before checking out. The costs are amazing,. Last time my mother was in the hospital, for not much more than a bladder infection and tests, the bill was over $25000. ICU is about that much alone, per day.
      andy_george
      • 2 Years Ago
      Gotta love socialized healthcare we are about to have jammed down our throats. Literally any public safety issue will require Gub'ment involvement, regulations, and oversight just to "save the poor taxpayer a little hard-earned money". Wait and see.....
        3szoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @andy_george
        Are you one of those that doesn't wear a seat belt either?
        Israel Isassi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @andy_george
        funny thing is I voted thumbs up for this comment, but the site posted it as thumbs down.
        dallifornia
        • 2 Years Ago
        @andy_george
        Uhh, can you point out to me where mandated helmet use is detailed in the PPACA...? I think that this is much more about preventing loss of life (really easy prevention, too) than the mean ole government trying to throw sand in your eyes.
      Rex Seven
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why no mention of liberty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There would never be a motorcycle death if we just outlawed them all together. Why not just not let anyone ever leave there FU&%ING house!!!!!!!!!!! How about everyone has to wear bubble wrap when we leave our house! Where does it end??? Communism. that's where.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 2 Years Ago
      Our country seems hellbent on punishing people who choose lifestyles that may cost someone else in society money so why not just force riders to pay a bike tax to cover this cost? The fat police want the obese to pay more, same goes for smokers and people who want to drink a beer but why stop there? Let's start taxing parachutes and mountain bikes and swimming pools too. Over a thousand people die each from falling down stairs - how much does that cost? The elevator is right there buddy, use it.
        Israel Isassi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        Agreed Polly.. unfortunately we live in a society where a bartender is held responsible for someone getting drunk and killing themselves or someone else. I see a sad future where we're all wearing inflatable body bags and wearing helmets in the shower. The absolute sad truth is that none of this has anything to do with safety or whether you and I pay higher rates for insurance.. It has to do with government wanting to control every aspect of our lives and insurance companies continuing to find ways to raise our rates no matter what.
          09GT
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Israel Isassi
          Take off the tinfoil hat - the big bad government doesn't want to control every aspect of your life. What it DOES want to do, what we all should want to do, is lower the costs of healthcare (especially when preventable). For the record, again, I believe you have the right NOT to wear a helmet. But your right NOT to wear a helmet should not infringe on my right to pay the least amount of taxes as possible (not bankrolling the care of these individuals by increased taxes (for Medicaid/disability) or increased health insurance premiums). So, feel free not to wear a helmet, and I'll free free not to help keep your brain-dead body alive for 20 years. You can extend this to a lot of areas where there is a clear freedom to choose to do something (junkfood, alcohol, cigarettes) that has a known detrimental effect that you and I will end up having to subsidize. You want to eat like crap, fine. Pay more for your junkfood up front, so I don't have to pay for your insulin later.
        09GT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        "Our country seems hellbent on punishing people who choose lifestyles that may cost someone else in society money" Hell yeah! Why should I be punished (in the form of higher taxes/healthcare costs) for someone else's stupidity or lifestyle? My feeling is, you should have the freedom of whether or not to wear a helmet (or seatbelt) - but, if you choose not to, then no one except yourself should have to pay for your care. Out of money = out of luck, pull the plug. I mountain bike (always with a helmet) but I pay a higher life insurance premium because I do (and report it).
          09GT
          • 2 Years Ago
          @09GT
          And yes, I'd extend that to junkfood/soda (tax it like alcohol and cigarettes) so I don't have to pay for someone's easily preventable adult-type diabetes medicine. I'm all for paying taxes/health insurance to cover unforeseen issues that could happen to anyone (accidents, cancer, infections, etc), but people need to take responsibility for their choices, if they don't, then they should help pay for it somehow (like a tax on junkfood/soda).
          Serioso
          • 2 Years Ago
          @09GT
          Exactly! Thank you for putting it all into words. Paying is already obligatory/mandated.
        Bernard
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        It's called accountability.
      michigan
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you get in any kind of accident on a motorcycle you basically don't stand a chance. Why anyone would want to ride one of these death traps is beyond me
        mostchillininsc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @michigan
        False. Stick to a car because you sir, don't stand a chance. Those of that are experienced riders, do stand a chance in most (not all) situations. Now this is a the kind of response I was expecting to this article on AB... I'm also waiting for the comments about this not being a motorcycle site -- as I sit back and eat my popcorn...
    • Load More Comments
    Advertisement
    2014 Jeep Cherokee
    MSRP: $22,995 - $30,095
    2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    MSRP: $51,800 - $103,200
    2014 Chevrolet Cruze
    MSRP: $17,520 - $24,985