197670 A critical review of motorcycle safety countermeasure studies and recommendations for future research in the United States

Sunday, November 8, 2009

John M. Bigham, MPH , Traffic Safety Center, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Thomas M. Rice, MPH, PhD , Department of Environmental Health Services, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
David R. Ragland, PhD, MPH , Traffic Safety Center, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Motorcycles are an increasingly popular form of transportation that are less expensive to own and operate than passenger vehicle. It has been observed in several US states and nationally the the number of fatal and injury collisions increased steadily since 1999 after several years of decline. In order to address this problem, a variety of safety countermeasures are available to drivers. This paper will review studies of motorcycle safety countermeasures and will recommend future directions for research in the US.


Peer-reviewed publications and government documents were reviewed and synthesized. Helmet effectiveness, helmet use legislation, helmet type, driver education and training, motorcycle air bags, and conspicuity measures were discussed in the literature. A critical analysis of the available literature and the employed study designs was conducted.


The use and effectiveness of helmets has been extensively studied. Helmets have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of injury. Universal helmet use legislation also reduces fatal and severe injury rates. Few studies have examined helmet types. Increased driver education and training are useful means to mitigate the risk of collision. Conspicuity measures such as daytime headlights and reflective clothing can also reduce collision risk.


Helmets, education, licensing, and various conspicuity measures have been shown to reduce the risk of collision or the severity of injuries. A large, rigorously designed case-control study is needed to examine the causal associations of collision risk factors and to estimate the effectiveness of various safety countermeasures.

Learning Objectives:
Session attendees will be able to: 1. Describe recent trends and characteristics of motorcycle collisions 2. Identify current and potential motorcycle safety countermeasures 3. Understand needed motorcycle safety research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed a degree program for a Master's of Public Health while working as a student researcher at the Traffic Safety Center.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.