Motorcycle Safety

California Motorcycle Safety Facts

Rice, Thomas M.

California has long been a center of motorcycling and is home to much of the motorcycle industry. In fact, the state has more motorcyclists than any other US state. There are more than 800,000 registered motorcycles in the state, followed by 550,000 in Florida and 445,000 in Texas. As a consequence, California is also a leader in motorcycle collision-related deaths each year.

SafeTREC Traffic Safety Facts: Motorcycle Safety

July 27, 2018

Welcome back to the SafeTREC Traffic Safety Facts blog series! Each day this week we have featured recent data on some of California's most pressing traffic safety issues. Today, we will be wrapping up the week with the facts on motorcycle safety. In case you missed them, check out the fact sheets on alcohol-impaired driving, aging road users,...

Street Story Pilot

June 22, 2018

Crash data is readily available and accessible for public use through government information databases. Crash data typically entails vehicle-related injuries and fatalities that were reported to police authorities. But what about unreported incidents--incidents that only require exchange of contact and insurance information, incidents that may not involve an injury or injuries that might not have been reported? As a way to understand perceptions and experiences of safety in communities, UC Berkeley SafeTREC is developing an online data tool that allows people to self-report...

Motorcycle helmet type and the risk of head injury and neck injury during motorcycle collisions in California

Erhardt, Taryn
Rice, Thomas M.
Troszak, Lara
Zhu, Motao

The use of novelty motorcycle helmets is often prompted by beliefs that wearing a standard helmet can contribute to neck injury during traffic collisions. The goal of this analysis was to examine the association between helmet type and neck injury risk and the association between helmet type and head injury. Data were collected during the investigation of motorcycle collisions of any injury severity by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and 83 local law enforcement agencies in California between June 2012 and July 2013. We estimated head injury and neck injury risk ratios from data on...

Motorcycle helmet use and the risk of head, neck, and fatal injury: Revisiting the Hurt Study

Rice, Thomas M.
Troszak, Lara
Ouellet, James V.
Erhardt, Taryn
Smith, Gordon S.
Tsai, Bor-Wen

Most studies find strong evidence that motorcycle helmets protect against injury, but a small number of controversial studies have reported a positive association between helmet use and neck injury. The most commonly cited paper is that of Goldstein (1986). Goldstein obtained and reanalyzed data from the Hurt Study, a prospective, on-scene investigation of 900 motorcycle collisions in the city of Los Angeles. The Goldstein results have been adopted by the anti-helmet community to justify resistance to compulsory motorcycle helmet use on the grounds that helmets may cause neck injuries due...

Novelty helmet use and motorcycle rider fatality

Rice, Thomas M.
Troszak, Lara
Erhardt, Taryn
Trent, Roger B.
Zhu, Motao


To compare the risk of fatal injury across helmet types among collision-involved motorcyclists.


We used data from a cohort of motorcyclists involved in police-reported traffic collisions. Eighty-four law enforcement agencies in California collected detailed information on helmet and rider characteristics during collision investigations in June 2012 through July 2013. Multiply-adjusted risk ratios were estimated with log-binomial regression.


The adjusted fatal injury risk ratio for novelty helmets was 1.95 (95% CI 1.11-3.40, p...

Roadway and Infrastructure Design and Its Relation to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: Basic Principles, Applications, and Benefits

Ragland, David R.
Grembek, Offer
Orrick, Phyllis
Felschundneff, Grace

Road deaths are forecast to double by 2020, with the burden falling most heavily on low- and middle-income countries and, within those countries, on the most vulnerable and poorest road users. Half of the 1.2 million people killed and 50 million injured in road crashes each year are pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and users of unsafe public transport; and more than 90 percent are from low- and middle-income countries. Because these are the areas where rapid motorization is taking place, the issue of safety in increasingly multi-modal environments is now of critical importance...

Predictors of Nonstandard Helmet Use Among San Francisco Bay–Area Motorcyclists

Tsui, Casey K.
Rice, Thomas M.
Pande, Swati
Objective: The use of helmets that do not comply with safety standards is common in California. The objective of this study was to describe the use of these nonstandard helmets among San Francisco Bay–area (SFBA) motorcyclists and to identify personal and motorcycle characteristics that are associated with the use of nonstandard helmets. Methods: A survey of 860 SFBA motorcyclists was conducted. Log-binomial regression was used to estimate risk ratios to compare probabilities of nonstandard helmet use. Results: Fifteen percent of motorcyclists reported wearing a nonstandard helmet sometimes...