Organ Donations, Transplants Increase on Days of Largest Motorcycle Rallies

Findings should serve as alarm to increase safety, prepare for higher demand for trauma care and transplant services

Motion blurred photo of a backlit motorcycle on a tree-lined road.
Image: PPAMPicture/Getty/E+

The number of organ donations and organ transplants goes up markedly during large motorcycle rallies, according to a newly published analysis led by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The research, which appears Nov. 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that in the regions where the seven largest motorcycle rallies were held throughout the United States between 2005 and 2021, there were 21 percent more organ donors per day, on average, and 26 percent more transplant recipients per day, on average, during these events, compared with days just before and after the rallies.

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Large-scale motorcycle rallies attract hundreds of thousands of attendees, and previous studies have shown that these events are accompanied by increases in traumatic injuries and deaths from motor-vehicle crashes.

For the new study, the researchers wanted to know whether these events corresponded to increases in organ donation and transplantation in the regions where they were held.