Head injuries are the main attributable cause of death in a majority of motorcycle crashes, according to the newly published Helmets Manual.
It, however, said quality helmets reduce the risk of death by over six times, and reduce the risk of brain injury by up to 74 per cent.
The manual, co-produced by the World Health Organisation, the Global Road Safety Partnership, the FIA Foundation and the World Bank, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies showed that the incidence of Powered Two- and Three-Wheelers injuries is on the increase and a large proportion of the riders sustain head injuries in crashes.
“Yet despite this, a number of challenges are slowing the uptake and proper use of quality helmets, particularly in developing countries. These challenges include availability and affordability of quality helmets, improperly fastened helmets, a lack of available helmets for children, hot weather and even misinformation.
“Head injuries are the leading cause of death in a majority of motorcycle crashes internationally.
“When a motorcycle is involved in a collision, the rider’s head can hit other vehicles, fixed hard objects around the road and the surface of the road. Head injuries can also result from two-wheeler riders falling off at low speeds.
“Riders of PTWs must wear a helmet when moving and those who do not run a much higher risk of sustaining head and traumatic brain injuries, or a combination of these,” it said.
It noted that though a helmet law alone is not effective in improving prevalence of helmet use in a population, there should be sustained enforcement so it has its intended effect on the driver population.
It added that PTW use is increasing rapidly in several countries; hence the importance of ensuring that PTW riders use helmets to reduce the injuries and deaths that result from non-use of helmets during a collision.
“Though measures for increasing and sustaining helmet use are known, their implementation faces several challenges such as inadequate enforcement, persistent use of poor-quality helmets and lack of legislation for helmet use for e-bikes.
“These challenges need to be addressed by countries through a proactive approach that involves continued effort in planning, executing and evaluating helmet use interventions.
Effective planning and implementation of a helmet initiative requires a comprehensive understanding of the risk factors involved in different settings, the nature of the problem, stakeholders, and what is already in place.
Identifying and leveraging opportunities for advancing helmet use interventions is necessary for decision-makers and practitioners who work on safe mobility, sustainable development and the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030,” it added.