-- Alan Mozes
THURSDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that
black Americans are more likely to be wearing a helmet when they
get into a motorcycle crash, they are still 1.5 times more likely
to die from their injuries than white Americans are, new research
The new study does not identify an underlying cause for this
apparent racial disparity, but the researchers found that the
observation holds true even after taking into account the rider's
insurance status, gender and injury severity.
The research team did note, however, that prior work has
suggested a number of contributing factors that could make blacks
more vulnerable in terms of survival. These include a lack of
health insurance, less access to care, poorer quality of care and
having a greater number of pre-existing illnesses or injuries.
There may also be differences in terms of the types of helmets
and/or motorcycles that black riders prefer, they noted.
What is clear, the study authors stated, is that
injury-prevention programs that mandate the use of motorcycle
helmets are not a panacea for reducing rider risk.
"For reasons that we are still trying to figure out, one size of injury prevention does not fit all groups of people, and just wearing a helmet is not enough," study senior author Dr. Adil Haider, an assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release. "Helmet for helmet, African Americans have more lethal injuries."
Haider, who is also co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for
Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research, and colleagues published
their findings in a recent issue of the
American Journal of Surgery.
The authors noted that in the United States, motorcycle crashes
injure roughly 88,000 and kill more than 4,800 people each year.
About one in eight motor vehicle deaths is the result of motorcycle
crashes, and that figure has risen over the past 10 years.
The current finding stems from an analysis of information
gleaned from the National Trauma Data Bank concerning nearly 69,000
people who were injured in a motorcycle accident between 2002 and
The highest death rate was observed among black crash victims
who were not wearing a helmet.
That said, black riders were 30 percent more likely to be
wearing a helmet when they had their accident than were white crash
victims. And, white riders who did
not have a helmet on when they crashed were more likely to
survive their incident than black riders who
did have a helmet on, the investigators found.
For more on motorcycle helmets and safety, visit the
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety
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