Texas has one of the highest motorcycle crash rates in the country, one that is slowly increasing. In 2012, 467 motorcyclists were killed in crashes, representing roughly 14 percent of crash fatalities in the state. Of the motorcyclists killed, 52 percent were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
A new project conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) plans to address the problem of riders not wearing protective gear, which is more than just helmets. Michael Manser, human factors program manager and principal investigator on the project, said one of the main factors that go into reducing motorcycle fatalities and injury severity is gear. Typical riding gear includes a padded jacket, eyewear, gloves, padded riding pants and riding boots in addition to a helmet.
The study will begin with a survey of riders to identify protective equipment they do or do not wear. Questions on the survey will also help researchers identify the reasons why riders make the decisions they do about gear. Manser said researchers hope to understand more about what would and would not motivate or convince riders to change their use of protective gear.
Daniel Jeffries, contract manager on the project from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said without data analysis and studies, implementing a solution would be difficult.