Bright clothing and white helmets cut motorcycle deaths

04/07/04

Motorcycle rider conspicuity and crash related injury: case-control study BMJ Volume 328, pp 857-60

Wearing reflective clothing, a white or light coloured helmet, and using headlights during the day can reduce serious injuries or death from motorcycle crashes by up to one third, according to research from New Zealand in this week's BMJ.

The study included 463 motorcycle drivers involved in crashes leading to hospital treatment or death and a further 1,233 motorcycle drivers randomly selected from roadside surveys in the same region and time period.

Several factors including age, years of on-road riding experience, weather conditions and some risk taking behaviours (such as alcohol consumption) were taken into account.

Drivers wearing reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37% lower risk of crash related injury than other drivers. Compared with wearing a black helmet, use of a white helmet was associated with a 24% lower risk, and daytime use of headlights was associated with a 27% lower risk.

There was no association between risk of crash related injury and the frontal colour of drivers' clothing or motorcycle.

Increasing the use of reflective or fluorescent clothing, white or light coloured helmets, and daytime headlights are simple, cheap ways to increase the visibility of motorcycle riders on the roads and could considerably reduce motorcycle crash related injury and death, conclude the authors.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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