1.2 Motorcycle Helmet Use Promotion Programs
Overall Effectiveness Concerns: There appear to be no formal evaluations of the effect of helmet use promotion programs in States without universal helmet laws (NCHRP, 2008).
Several States without universal motorcycle helmet use laws promote helmet use through communications and outreach campaigns. To date 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 (NCHRP, 2008). 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.
The MSF, GHSA, NHTSA, WHO, and other groups encourage helmet use. NHTSA has developed helmet use promotion brochures, flyers and PSAs suitable for television and radio that are available online (www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/motorcycle-safety for material). NCHRP (2008) describes 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).
Use: 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, reported they actively promote helmet use, but the nature and extent of these promotions is unknown. Only one State reported using paid broadcast media spots.
Effectiveness: There appear to be no formal evaluations of the effect of helmet use promotion programs in States without universal helmet laws (NCHRP, 2008). However, helmet use remains substantially lower in States without universal helmet laws than in States with such laws (NCSA, 2019).
Costs: Good communications and outreach campaigns can be expensive to develop and implement: see the Seat Belts and Child Restraints chapter, Section 3.1. Helmet use promotion material is available from sources including MSF, NHTSA (2003), and from States that have conducted these campaigns.
Time to implement: A proper campaign, including market research, material development, and message placement, will require at least 6 months to plan and implement. Baseline data and post-campaign evaluation can require an additional 6 months or longer.