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Motorcycles have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injury because their vehicles provide little or no protection in the event of a crash. Helmets have repeatedly been proven to reduce the severity of head injury in crashes.


A study conducted by the National Study Center for Trauma and EMS at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center (STC) in Baltimore, Maryland collected data from motorcyclists involved in crashes in Maryland who were either killed or transported to the STC.  The study provides a general description of the characteristics of these crashes and the injury patterns associated with them. 


Information on injuries and helmet type was collected from January 2007 through May 2008.

During the course of their hospital stay, these crash-involved motorcycle operators were approached and asked to provide consent for participation in the study.  Upon consent, they were asked a series of questions about their riding habits and the type of crash in which they were involved and a series of questions about their general health and activity level prior to their crash. This data is summarized in the ESV paper (see link below).  If available, photographs (see link below) were taken of helmets worn during the crash.


Demographic characteristics and the nature and extent of the injuries sustained were captured from the STC trauma registry database. For this study, any documented brain or skull injury with a severity of 1 or higher, using the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) 95, was classified as a brain injury.  The trauma data is summarized in the injury data spreadsheet (see link below).   In addition to the data collected from January 2007 through May 2008, this spreadsheet includes additional data from the trauma registry on 478 motorcyclists admitted to the STC who sustained injuries was collected from May 2008 through December 2009. 


U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)