Motorcycle helmet use is increasing, although nearly half the nation still does not wear head protection when riding their bikes, a national study found.
Fifty-one percent of motorcyclists in the United States wore Department of Transportation-compliant helmets in 2006, which is a 3 percent increase over the prior year, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, the only probability-based observational survey on helmet use in the nation. Surveyors observed helmet use at random roadway sites to get the survey data.
Fourteen percent of riders wear helmets that are not compliant with federal safety regulations, the study found. That number has not changed in the past year.
Regionally, the West saw the biggest increase in helmet use with 22 percent more riders wearing head protection. The Northeast was up 4 percent while the Midwest and South were both down by 3 and 4 percent, respectively.