Gearing up for Motorcycle Safety

frontImproving transportation safety for Texans is a goal long shared by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). In 2015, researchers continued that tradition of making the roadways in the Lone Star State safer for everyone with a project that looked at motorcyclists’ motivations for wearing (or not wearing) safety gear.

In Texas, there are two types of motorcyclists — those that will wear helmets and those that won’t. However, when it comes to convincing riders to wear protective gear each time they ride, TTI researchers think some minds can be changed.

“We know that protective gear — like padded jackets and riding pants, eyewear, gloves and boots — go a long way in reducing severe injuries,” says Mike Manser, TTI Human Factors Program manager, who’s studying how motorcyclists make those decisions. “But why motorcyclists decide to wear gear or not, is something we don’t fully understand.”

Funded by TxDOT, the study began with a survey asking motorcyclists about the equipment they do wear, and why they choose to wear it. From the results, TTI and TxDOT produced a tip card that focuses on the advantages of wearing safety gear. Now, researchers are reviewing results of an online survey that was taken by 1,600 motorcyclists across the country. The final goal is an outreach campaign designed to convince riders that they should wear protective clothing each time they ride.

“Based on their answers, we will develop a campaign that shows the advantages of wearing safety equipment and motivates riders to change their habits. TxDOT has always been very concerned about motorcycle safety, and like me, they know that the more riders who wear gear, the better,” Manser says.