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Blacks More Likely to Die Than Whites in Motorcycle Accidents

A surprising new study indicates that African-American motorcyclists are 1.5 times more likely than white motorcyclists to die from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys noted that the study showed this racial disparity despite the fact that black motorcyclists are more likely to be wearing a helmet when they get into a motorcycle crash.

The researchers found that the disparity exists even after taking into account the rider's , gender, injury severity and insurance status.


Some prior research has suggested a number of contributing factors that could make blacks more vulnerable in terms of survival. These were a lack of health insurance, less access to care, poorer quality of care and having a greater number of pre-existing illnesses or injuries.

Another guess is that there may be differences in terms of the types of helmets and/or motorcycles that black riders prefer.

"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. Helmet for helmet, African Americans have more lethal injuries," according to Dr. Adil Haider, an assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the authors of the study.

About one in eight motor vehicle deaths is the result of motorcycle crashes, and that figure has risen over the past 10 years. Motorcycle crashes injure roughly 88,000 and kill more than 4,800 people each year.

The study examined the cases of 69,000 people who were injured in a motorcycle accident between 2002 and 2006.

Black riders were 30 percent more likely to be wearing a helmet when they had their accident than were white crash victims. Even so, white riders who did not have a helmet on when they crashed were more likely to survive their crash than black riders who did have a helmet on.

If nothing else, the study shows that simply wearing a helmet does not resolve all motorcycle safety issues.

Source: Business Wire "Blacks More Likely to Die in Motorcycle Crash Than Whites;Despite better helmet-wearing behavior, black riders at greater risk, data shows" 9/30/2010

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