I hear emergency room workers like to refer to our bikes as "donorcycles." That might have been the inspiration for a new study of motorcycle rallies and organ donations. More specifically, they wondered if major motorcycle rallies have any effect on the rate of organ donations?

A morbid question for sure, but also a valid one. 

Photo by Andrew Ruiz

In recent years motoring fatalities have decreased worldwide. However the US has seen an overall increase in death rates on American highways. With more and more motorcycles being registered in the US each year, that means more and more motorcyclists are dying.

The study, conducted by the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, reviewed transplant data from organ donors involved in motor vehicle accidents age 16 and above between March 2005 and September 2021. Then this information was viewed in relation to the dates of the seven largest motorcycle rallies in the US. These were events that draw 200,000 or more, like Daytona Bike Week or the Lone Star Rally. The results were a bit shocking.

During rallies transplant recipients increased by 26% when compared to 4 weeks prior and following the motorcycle events. 

In this cross-sectional study, major motorcycle rallies in the US were associated with increased incidence of organ donation and transplants. While safety measures to minimize morbidity and mortality during motorcycle rallies should be prioritized, this study showed the downstream association of these events with organ donation and transplants.

The study was not specific enough to pinpoint motorcycle versus automobile fatalities, but the implication is clear. If you need a kidney, Bikeweek might be your best bet. David Cron, HMS clinical fellow in surgery at Mass General stated, “The spikes in organ donations and transplantations that we found in our analysis are disturbing, even if not entirely surprising, because they signal a systemic failure to avoid preventable deaths, which is a tragedy,” 

Read the full study: Organ Donations, Transplants Increase on Days of Largest Motorcycle Rallies


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