Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 653

Short Communication

Prevalence of motorcycle helmet use in Sri Lanka: An observational study

Samath D. Dharmaratne1,2,3, Achala Upendra Jayatilleke3,4*, Asanka N. Abeyrathna1, Inoka D. M. Mabharana1 and K. G. B. Kumbukgolle1
1Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, 20400 Sri Lanka. 2Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Washington, USA. 3Institute of Violence and Injury Prevention, 25 1/2 -9B, Tower Building, Station Road, Colombo 04, 00400 Sri Lanka. 4Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, 160, Prof. Nandadasa Kodagoda Mawatha, Colombo 07, 00700 Sri Lanka.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 27 August 2013
  •  Published: 31 October 2013


In Sri Lanka, helmet use is mandatory by law. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of motorcycle helmet use in Sri Lanka. An observational study was conducted in four locations: two locations entering and leaving the city of Kandy, a rural area in the Kandy district, and the high way (A1) leading to Colombo from Kandy. All the motorcyclists that passed the observation locations were observed. Of all the 1254 motorcycle users, 1140 subjects used helmets (90.1%), as follows: 863 ‘riders’ (97.7%), 275 ‘pillion riders’ (second passengers) (84.1%), two ‘third passengers’ (5.4%) and none of the ‘fourth passengers’(0.0%). Out of 106 observed child passengers, only 25 (23.5%) wore helmets. The significant finding of this study was that majority of adult motorcycle users used helmets while majority of children did not. Motorcycle helmet laws need to be strictly implemented against non-use of helmets by children in Sri Lanka. A further qualitative study is needed to examine the reasons for non-use of helmets among children.


Key words: Helmet, motor cycles, motor vehicle crashes, Sri Lanka, vulnerable road users.