Traveling by motorcycle is enjoyable for many people, but riding on a motorcycle is risky for drivers and passengers alike. While you may face a high risk of a head or brain injury following a motorcycle crash, your risk of suffering that head injury is actually higher as a motorcycle passenger than it is as a driver.

According to Reuters, motorcycle passengers and drivers alike face higher risks of traumatic brain injuries than any other type of injury. But while motorcycle riders suffer TBIs in about 36% of motorcycle crashes, passengers experience them in about 40% of these wrecks.

The helmet factor

Part of the reason motorcycle passengers face higher head injury risks than drivers may be because motorcycle passengers are less likely to wear helmets than the parties driving the bikes. In a study involving about 86,000 motorcycle riders and passengers, about two-thirds of those driving the bikes wore helmets. Only about 57.5% of bike passengers did the same.

Other factors may also come into play. Even when motorcycle drivers and passengers both wear helmets, passengers still face heightened head and brain injury risks. Following crashes where both parties were wearing helmets, drivers suffered head injuries in about 31% of incidents, while passengers experienced them in about 36% of cases.

Other contributing factors

Other factors also enhance your chances of suffering a serious head or brain injury in a motorcycle wreck. If you are young, you face a higher head injury risk than older drivers on the road. Using alcohol or drugs before riding also raises head injury risks.