BALTIMORE, Sept. 24 (UPI) — African-American motorcyclists are more likely than others to die in crashes, even though they are more likely to wear a helmet, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions say black motorcycle crash victims are 1.5 times more likely to die than similarly injured whites — even though many more African-American victims were found to be wearing helmets when injured.
However, the highest mortality rates are among African-American motorcyclists without helmets, the study says.
The study, published in the American Journal of Surgery, suggests programs to prevent injuries — such as state laws mandating motorcycle helmet use — may not be protecting all riders equally.
“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,” senior author Dr. Adil Haider says in a statement. “Helmet for helmet, African-Americans have more lethal injuries.”
Haider says several factors — such as lack of health insurance, reduced access to healthcare, poorer quality of care and a greater number of pre-existing illnesses/injuries — may be combining to account for the survival gap.
It is possible, he says, riders of different races may prefer different types of helmets or motorcycles, but more research is needed.
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