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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - BMC research notes
Title The impact of helmets on motorcycle head trauma at a tertiary hospital in Jamaica
Volume 2
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
URL https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-0500-2-172

Although the Jamaica road traffic act mandates motorcycle riders to wear approved helmets, opponents suggest that the local road conditions obviate any benefits from helmet use that have been proven in Developed countries. They suggest that the narrow, winding, poorly surfaced, congested local highways do not allow motorcyclists to sustain high velocity travel. The accidents then tend to occur at lower speeds and are accompanied by less severe injuries. This study was carried out to determine the impact of helmet use on traumatic brain injuries from motorcycle collisions in patients admitted to a tertiary referral hospital in Jamaica.


A prospectively collected trauma registry maintained by the Department of Surgery at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica was accessed to identify all motorcycle collision victims from January 2000 to January 2007. The therapeutic outcomes of traumatic brain injuries were compared between helmeted and un-helmeted riders. The data was analyzed using SPSS Version 12.


Of 293 motorcycle collision victims, 143 sustained brain injuries. There were 9 females (6.3%) with an average age of 23 +/- 7.3 years and 134 males (93.7%) at an average age of 33.4 +/- 11.2 years (mean +/- SD). Only 49 (34.3%) patients wore a helmet at the time of a collision. Helmet use at the time of a collision significantly reduced the severity of head injuries (28.6% vs 46.8%, P = 0.028) and the likelihood of sustaining intra-cranial lesions (26.5% vs 44.7%, P = 0.03) from head injuries.


Wearing a helmet at the time of a motorcycle collision reduces the severity of head injuries. However, the prevalence of helmet use at the time of a collision is unacceptably low.

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