Motorcycle accident victims account for more than 340,000 fatalities annually, with the United States ranking 8th highest worldwide in the number of motorcycle accident deaths. 75% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve brain injury, with rotational forces acting on the brain the primary cause of mortality. Current motorcycle helmets are effective at reducing head injuries associated with blunt impact. However, the mechanism of traumatic brain injury is biomechanically very different.
Samples of 9 motorcycle helmet models, representing full-face, three-quarter and shorty designs were evaluated. Helmets, fitted to an instrumented Hybrid III head and neck, were dropped at 13 mph in accordance with DOT motorcycle helmet testing standards.
Results show that, on average, there is a 67% risk of concussion and a 10% probability of severe or fatal brain injury associated with a relatively minor 13mph helmeted head impact.
In conclusion, motorcycle helmets provide inadequate protection against concussion and severe traumatic brain injury associated with even relatively minor head impact