The presence of enforcement increases the correct use of motorcycle helmets, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and Grupo SUR at Universidad de los Andes.

Semiannual observational studies of motorcycle users in six randomly selected sites in Bogota were conducted between 2015 and 2018. In observing more than 70,000 motorcycles, researchers found that enforcement, increases the correct use of helmets especially in principal roads.

“Our work emphasizes the direct relationship between enforcement and correct helmet use among motorcyclists,” said lead author Luis A. Guzman of Universidad de los Andes. “And it is critically important to understand how we can better protect our motorcyclists and encourage correct helmet use. Here in Colombia the number of motorcyclists has nearly doubled between 2013 and 2018.”

The findings, published online August 21 in Traffic Injury Prevention, could help inform decision makers all across the globe and particularly in low- and middle-income countries where evidence-based road safety interventions are most needed.

In the work, researchers also found that though 99% of drivers and passengers wore helmets, only 89% of drivers and 82% of passengers used them correctly. Female, adult, and single riders were are all more likely to correctly wear helmets. The study also noted a relationship between the concentration of fatalities and incorrect helmet use in 80% of the observational sites.

“The relationships between correct helmet use, enforcement presence, and mortality in a Latin-America city: The case study of Bogota, Colombia” was written by Luis A. Guzman, Andres Ignacio Vecino Ortiz, Vanessa Guzman Mesa, Jose Pablo Camargo, Katharine A. Allen, and Adnan A. Hyder.

To learn more about the research, please click here.