The Forgotten Aspect: Motorcycle Helmets Save Huge Amounts of Money, not ‘Just’ Lives!

Whenever people argue that it is the right of a motorcyclist to accept additional risk of serious injuries or death, if they wish to do so, a key part of the argument is casually forgotten, and that is the often huge extra expense to everybody else if the worst happens.  It is now many years since the average cost, per body, of fatal road-crashes in the USA went above $1 million.  Indeed it is a well above a million dollars now.

Photo of two people on a motor scooter in Florida, quite legally but very inadvisably without crash helmets.
Two people on a motor scooter in Florida, quite legally but very inadvisably without crash helmets.

An example of the extent of the cost of motorcycle crashes is illustrated in the article “…Requiring helmets would save lives and money in Idaho,” from the Idaho Statesman.

Excerpt:  “…The [Idaho Transportation Department] reports that in 2015, a motorcyclist was injured in a traffic crash every 16.5 hours. Out of the 611 motorcyclists who were involved in crashes that year, there were 28 fatalities — a 12 percent increase over the previous year – along with 174 serious injuries (a 19.2 percent increase), and 225 visible injuries (an 8.7 percent increase).  For the year, the total economic cost of motorcycle-related crashes in Idaho, including traffic delays and lost productivity, was calculated at $381 million. The cost in human life was much higher…”  [End of excerpt]

It should be fairly self-evident that most of this huge expense is not in any way covered by a rider’s insurance and therefore it basically has to be paid by everyone else, whether in the form of increased vehicle insurance premiums, income tax, lost work or whatever.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all in favor of people having the right to choose. However, I do object strongly to me and my family having to help pay for any increased cost that comes from that right to choose.

What am I suggesting?  That all motorcyclists who decide not to wear a helmet or use one that is sub-standard because they like the image it portrays should have to obtain enough additional insurance — payable at least in part to the relevant state — to cover the full cost everything related to any injuries or death to a motorcyclist and/or a pillion passenger which result from the lack of a helmet or the use of a sub-standard helmet.

Don’t get my motives wrong; I am a former long-term motorcyclist and still love bikes.  But I don’t believe that gives me any right to cause financial loss to others if I pay a serious physical price for my own choice of priorities.  And to reinforce the point that I am not being “anti bike,” let me add that I think any additional insurance should be also be payable by anyone who chooses not to wear a seatbelt.


Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at:

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