Online Program

Helmet characteristics and injury outcomes among collision-involved motorcyclists in California

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Thomas M. Rice, MPH, PhD, Division of Environmental Health Services, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Raphael Barcham, BS, SafeTREC, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Shameil Coleman, BS, Motorcycle Safety Unit, California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA
Purpose: In this analysis we summarize patterns of helmet use among more than 8,000 collision-involved motorcyclists and examine how helmets of varying types protect against head injury and fatality. Methods: The California Highway Patrol used a one-page supplemental form to collect information on helmet characteristics, helmet certification, helmet retention, body region injured, and other motorcyclist behaviors. The form was used during all CHP motorcycle collision investigations from August 2012 through July 2013. Results: We analyzed preliminary data on 6,754 collision-involved motorcycles that were carrying 7,111 persons. Of these riders, 65% were wearing a full-face helmet, followed 13% with ½-helmets, 8% with ¼-helmets, 7% with bogus helmets, 5% with modular helmets, and 2% with no helmet. Bogus helmets were those that were determined by the officer to be non-DOT-compliant or that had no DOT or Snell label. Compared with riders wearing full-face helmets, those wearing bogus helmets were 2.5 times as likely to suffer head injury (RR 2.5; 95% CI 2.08-2.90) and twice as likely to suffer fatal injury (RR 2.01; 95% CI 1.29-3.14). No other helmet type differed significantly from full-face helmets in terms of the risk of fatality. Helmet type was not associated with the probability of neck injury (p=0.93). Conclusions: This is one of few studies to use detailed information on helmet characteristics collected independently of injury outcome. We demonstrate that bogus helmets offer inadequate

Learning Areas:


Learning Objectives:
Describe the helmet characteristics of collision-involved motorcyclists in California Describe how the risk of head injury varies by helmet type and DOT certification Describe the incidence of death and how the risk of death is affected by helmet characteristics Discuss the strengths, limitations, and future steps of this study

Keyword(s): Motor Vehicles, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a PhD in epidemiology and have been involved in injury epidemiology for many years.I hold MPH and PhD (Epidemiology) degrees and have been involved in designing and conducting injury studies for more than a decade. I have received ten or more research grants as a PI. I conceptualized, obtained funding for, and executed the current project. Tom Thomas Rice, MPH, PhD Research Epidemiologist Safe Transportation Research & Education 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.

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