The relationships between correct helmet use, enforcement presence, and mortality in a Latin-America city: The case study of Bogotá, Colombia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Traffic Injury Prevention








Bogotá; helmet use; motorcyclists; Road safety; road traffic injuries


© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Objective: In Bogotá, Colombia, motorcyclists represent a concern as the proportion of motorcycle users between 2013 and 2018 has increased from 18% to 35%. Despite available risk reduction strategies, the fatality rates are also growing, notably in young adults (15–29 years old). This study aims at identifying correct helmet use patterns and its relationship with official records of injuries and casualties in the city over time. Methods: Between 2015 and 2018, semiannual observational studies of motorcycle users in six randomly selected sites in Bogotá were conducted. Data was collected and analyzed on the number of occupants per vehicle (driver and passengers), gender, approximate age, type of helmet, and whether it was correctly used (strapped) or not. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify the determinants of correct helmet use. Additionally, a spatial analysis was conducted to estimate the relationship between motorcycle’s casualties and correct use of the helmet (full-face helmet use) prevalence. Results: A total of 77,932 motorcycles were observed, showing a high prevalence of helmet use (99% for drivers and passengers), but only 88% use it correctly (89% drivers and 82% passengers). The presence of enforcement (camera or police personnel) increases the correct use of the helmet, especially in principal roads. Female, adults, and single riders are more likely to correctly wear the helmet. Finally, there is a relationship between the concentration of the fatalities and the incorrect helmet use in 80% of the observational sites. Conclusions: Incorrect helmet use has been found by the study to be related to higher mortality among motorcycle occupants in Bogotá. Our data shows that enforcement increases correct helmet use with the potential to reduce deaths among motorcycle occupants.