IMPACT OF MOTORCYCLE HELMET USAGE IN COLORADO. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A primary objective was to assess injury consequences to riders on motorcycles involved in crashes. Of major concern was an evaluation of the differences in frequency, severity and location of injuries between riders wearing a safety helmet and helmetless riders. A second objective was to assess the impact of the repeal of the helmet law in Colorado on change in helmet use throughout the state. The data collection efforts to meet both objectives were undertaken during the months of July - September, 1976 (pre-repeal data) and during those same months of 1977 (post-repeal data). The findings pertaining to injury consequences are derived from in-depth medical evaluations of 1700 motorcycle riders involved in accidents during both time periods. The Abbreviated Injury Scale was used by medical personnel to standardize injury data. Selected findings include: (1) the rates of occurrence of both fatally and critically injured riders increased substantially from the pre-repeal to the post-repeal period; (2) the occurrence rates of fatally and critically injured riders were considerably less for helmet users than for non-users; (3) the rates of injury occurrence to the head, neck and face were significantly influenced by helmet use (helmet wearers had a far lower injury rate for all three body locations); (4) the severity of injuries to the head was significantly greater for helmetless riders than for helmeted riders. Findings from the roadside helmet survey are based on observations of 16,000 riders for 1976 and of 24,500 riders for 1977. Riders were observed at randomly selected sites throughout the state. Selected findings include: helmet use in Colorado prior to repeal of the helmet law approached perfect compliance with the law (99% helmet use); subsequent to the repeal, use of helmets dropped to 58%; post-repeal data revealed the highest rate of helmet use to be 72% on rural freeways, with the lowest rate being 47% on urban four-lane streets.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Colorado Department of Highways

    4201 East Arkansas Avenue
    Denver, CO  United States  80222

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Dare, C E
    • Owens, J C
    • Krane, S
  • Publication Date: 1978-9

Media Info

  • Pagination: 32 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00191067
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-HS-803-679 Final Rpt., 403-2-A
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-6-01429
  • Files: NTIS, TRIS, USDOT, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 25 1979 12:00AM