"Phony" Motorcycle Helmet Use in Georgia

Some motorcyclists consider laws that mandate helmet use a violation of their personal freedom; others contend that helmets impair their vision and hearing or increase the risk of neck injury (despite the lack of evidence to support these views). States vary in their legislation, but motorcycle helmets are required in all but 3 states. This letter to the editor discusses “phony” motorcycle helmet use in Georgia, a state that requires helmet use but does not specify any performance standard for the helmets. The authors conducted a prospective, observational study over a 6 month period and recorded the number of “phony” helmets worn. Helmets were considered phony based on prior published criteria: less than an inch thick, whether or not the entire ear was covered, unusual surfaces (canvas, baseball caps), and whether there were external attachments to the helmet. A total of 263 motorcyclists were observed. Although all motorcyclists were noted to wear some sort of helmet (100% usage), 23 riders (8.7%) were observed to be wearing a phony helmet. Another 16 (6.1%) were wearing a helmet of indeterminable type. If this latter group was wearing phony helmets, this means that nearly 15% of the motorcyclists in the sample were wearing a substandard helmet. The authors conclude by calling for changes to the state’s law that would outlaw the use of substandard helmets. In addition, emergency physicians need to be aware of phony helmets and the increased risk of injuries associated with their use.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Houry, Debra
    • Kellermann, Arthur
    • White, Melissa
    • Corneal, Kim
  • Publication Date: 2005


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003959
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 10 2005 7:40AM