A review of risk factors and patterns of motorcycle injuries

Accid Anal Prev. 2009 Jul;41(4):710-22. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.03.010. Epub 2009 Apr 18.


Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcycle riders have a 34-fold higher risk of death in a crash than people driving other types of motor vehicles. While lower-extremity injuries most commonly occur in all motorcycle crashes, head injuries are most frequent in fatal crashes. Helmets and helmet use laws have been shown to be effective in reducing head injuries and deaths from motorcycle crashes. Alcohol is the major contributing factor to fatal crashes. Enforcement of legal limits on the blood alcohol concentration is effective in reducing motorcycle deaths, while some alcohol-related interventions such as a minimal legal drinking age, increased alcohol excise taxes, and responsible beverage service specifically for motorcycle riders have not been examined. Other modifiable protective or risk factors comprise inexperience and driver training, conspicuity and daytime headlight laws, motorcycle licensure and ownership, riding speed, and risk-taking behaviors. Features of motorcycle use and potentially effective prevention programs for motorcycle crash injuries in developing countries are discussed. Finally, recommendations for future motorcycle-injury research are made.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control*
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Motorcycles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Taiwan
  • United States