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Several States without universal motorcycle helmet use laws promote helmet use through communications and outreach campaigns and helmet use in general is encouraged by agencies such as the MSF, GHSA, NHTSA, and the World Health Organization (WHO). However, there is little evidence that these efforts to educate and promote helmet use among motorcyclists in the absence of universal helmet laws are effective, unless the publicity helps to gain enactment of such laws (Potts et al., 2008).

In general, initiatives such as this fail because they do not follow the principles of human behavior discussed in the Introduction. In the case of motorcycle helmet use, this strategy assumes that people in States without universal helmet laws are not wearing helmets because they lack information or understanding about the availability or benefits of motorcycle helmets and presumes that by telling people helmets are beneficial, they will change their behavior.

A parallel experience is evident in the efforts to increase seat belt use through educational and promotional efforts prior to the enactment of laws requiring seat belt use. Years of educational and promotional campaigns did little to increase seat belt use. It was only after laws requiring use were enacted that seat belt use began to rise substantially. NHTSA, MSF, GHSA, WHO, and other groups encourage helmet use. NHTSA has developed helmet use promotion brochures, flyers, and public service announcements suitable for television and radio that are available online. Potts et al. (2008) describe elements that should be included in a campaign should one be undertaken. The WHO has published a manual for policy makers and road safety practitioners to use when developing programs improving motorcycle helmet use (WHO, 2006).

Baer et al. (2010) distributed self-report surveys to States on their motorcycle safety programs and received responses from 45 States. Thirty-three of the 43 States that responded to a question on helmet use promotion, both with and without helmet laws, indicated they actively promote helmet use, but the nature and extent of these promotions is unknown. Only one State reported using paid broadcast media spots.

There appear to be no formal evaluations of the effect of helmet use promotion programs in States without universal helmet laws. However, helmet use remains substantially lower in States without universal helmet laws than in States with such laws (NCSA, 2019).