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Presentation: 5:14

Poster attached as supplemental file below


Worldwide, road traffic injuries are a public health emergency, leading to 1.3 million deaths annually. Among major US cities, Philadelphia has the second-highest per capita rate of traffic deaths; it adopted a Vision Zero (VZ) Initiative in 2016 with the goal of reducing preventable traffic deaths to zero by 2030. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable road users: although motorcycles are only 3% of registered vehicles in the US, their operators account for 14% of traffic fatalities. Utilizing a retrospective analysis and Geographic Information System mapping of crash data cross-shared between the Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Transportation (DOT) and Jefferson Center for Injury Research and Prevention, this project analyzes motorcycle crashes between 2007 and 2018 in Philadelphia County. It focuses on the relationship between helmet usage and fatalities for motorcycle operations, as PA repealed its Universal Helmet Law (UHL) in 2003. The study identified the West Park and Lower Northeast Planning Districts as the areas in the city with the highest-burden of crashes and fatalities, including areas outside of current VZ planning, and found a helmet compliance rate among motorcyclists treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of 60.9%. Despite the clear benefits of requiring helmet usage for motorcyclists, a UHL is not in Philadelphia’s VZ Action Plan 2030. The advent of micro-mobility in urban environments (e.g., rentable scooters) and the US DOT’s 2022 adoption of VZ goals suggest an urgent need in Philadelphia to reimplement a UHL and improve targeting resources in areas of danger to motorcyclists.