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.
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