New Findings: Motivations Behind Wearing Motorcycle Safety Gear

motorcycle rider-crop-u2994The last issue of Safetynet introduced readers to a new project conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI) Human Factors Program — a plan to address the problem of riders not wearing protective gear, which is more than just helmets. (Read last issue’s story: Researchers Investigate Motorcyclists’ Motivations for Wearing Safety Gear.)

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas Motorcycle Safety Coalition, and TTI are excited to report the findings of 200 survey responses from Texas motorcycle riders. TTI researchers discovered riders’ motivations for wearing (or not wearing) safety gear and what messaging could convince them to wear more.

Mike Manser, Human Factors Program manager and principal investigator on the project explains, “We want to first find out what are the underlying reasons that motivate a rider to wear their gear, and second, build a message that is consistent with the survey results.”

The goal of this project, sponsored by TxDOT’s Motorcyclists Safety Equipment Use program, was to:

  1.  Understand why Texas riders do not wear safety equipment;
  2.  Identify information that would promote gear use; and
  3.  Develop an outreach program to educate riders.

 TxDOT has a strong history of working in the area of motorcycle rider safety and recently expanded to include a more in depth look at motorcyclists’ gear usage, starting with this project.

Reasons why riders do and do not wear safety gearFindings

It’s safe to say many groups in the motorcycle safety community promote “All the Gear, All the Time” (ATGATT). Based on the survey, half of the riders responded that they wear all their gear all the time, and the other half said that they wear some of the gear, some of the time. The shocking aspect is that most riders didn’t understand the scope of the term “all the gear” and reported that they did not wear all seven pieces of motorcycle safety gear — a helmet, a padded jacket, eyewear, gloves, padded riding pants, riding boots, and an armored vest — every time they rode their motorcycle. Based on this analysis researchers concluded ATGATT requires clarification, which is why all motorcycle safety gear will be worked into education campaign messaging.

Another essential piece to this study was determining what would convince riders to wear more gear. The top responses were:

  • Odds of surviving a crash with and without gear;
  • Information about the types of injuries that could be reduced by safety gear; and/ or,
  • Pressure from family or friends to wear more gear.

These results and more helped develop messaging, graphics and imagery for educational outreach materials used by the Texas Motorcycle Safety Coalition and TxDOT.

“We want to grow this study to get an idea of motorcycle riders’ motivations nationally.” Manser said. “Two hundred responses is a small sample, and efforts are underway to expand that sample to get a better read on what’s truly going on.”

Project findings, analyses and deliverables are now in the hands of TxDOT who will continue to share these deliverables as part of their Look Learn Live motorcycle safety and awareness campaign.