Precipitating Factors to the Non-Use of Crash Helmets among Motorcycle Riders in the Bolgatanga East District of Ghana
Keywords:Crashes, Crash helmet, Fatality, Rider, Motorcycle
Thousands of motorcycle riders annually die globally from head and neck injuries sustained from the non-use of crash helmets. The wearing of proper crash helmets by riders in Ghana receives low patronage despite an over 800% increase in biker fatalities between the years 2001 and 2016; with the figure rising to 1220% by 2019 (581 deaths) using 2001 (44 deaths) as base year. This study assessed the rates and precipitating factors to the non-use of crash helmets among riders in the motorcycle-dominant Bolgatanga East District of Ghana. Leveraging the simple random sample technique, inputs for the study were solicited from questionnaires administered to 428 riders in the district. Based on the analysis, this article established with 95% confidence level that, less than 40% of riders wear crash helmets. Further to this, the helmet wearing levels were very low (17%) among female riders but had an appreciable frequency (42%) among male riders. Two factors were identified as major causes (40%) to the non-use of crash helmets. These were refusal of riders to use helmets because they (riders) were on short (intra-urban) trips, and the motorcycles were not theirs. Other reasons resulted from head and hair discomforts, vision obstruction, forgetfulness, lack of enforcement and apathy; factors found congruent to similar studies. This research found that helmet wearing rates can be improved particularly among older adults and higher lever education riders. It is expected that education can be enhanced by concerned authorities to develop riders’ understanding of the casualty situation and the importance of wearing a helmet.
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