News > Motorcycles are still the most dangerous form of urban transport, even with a helmet.

Motorcycles are still the most dangerous form of urban transport, even with a helmet.

 - 14/11/2019

Even though 90% of urban motorcyclists wear a helmet, their risk of head trauma is higher than that of off-road vehicle users.

According to this recent study by researchers from Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA), riding a motorbike on the road without a helmet is extremely risky, particularly in the case of off-road vehicles that aren’t adapted to urban areas.
“With more off-road vehicles being ridden in urban areas, improved understanding of the types of injuries involved in crashes should help emergency medical services and trauma surgeons provide better health care,” reported the authors of the study, who published their research in The Journal of Surgical Research.
The researchers looked at 1,556 people injured in accidents involving off-road vehicles and urban motorcycles on paved inner city, suburban and major roadways. All the patients of the study were admitted to a trauma centre in Camden (New Jersey) between 2005 and 2016. Urban motorcyclists were on average older (39 years old) than the off-road motorcyclists (26 years old).
Higher death toll among urban motorcyclists
The researchers observed that the degree of seriousness of the injuries sustained during road accidents was similar between urban motorcyclists and off-road vehicle users. However, the type of trauma differed depending on the mode of transport at the time of the accident.
Urban motorcyclists for example sustained more chest injuries, while drivers of off-road vehicles not suited to the city sustained more face injuries, “probably because they weren’t wearing helmets,” surmised the researchers.
However, urban motorcyclists, even though they were wearing a helmet in 90% of cases (compared to 39% for off-road vehicles), were victims of accidents that required more emergency surgery (54.2% compared to 45.9%) and their mortality rate was higher (4.7% compared to 0.9%).
“This could be due to the motorcyclists’ older age and that they were probably riding at higher speeds at the time of the crash,” ventured Christopher Butts, trauma surgeon at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School which supervised the study.
“Even though our findings suggest that the mortality rate is lower among off-road vehicle users, the failure to wear a helmet in this young age group is preoccupying. We hope that this study will highlight the serious risk of riding off-road vehicles in urban areas and will guide strategies to decrease this dangerous practice,” alerted Dr Butts.
Credit : AFP