Objective: To quantify the effects of wearing a helmet on head and facial injury among users of motorized two-wheel vehicles and to determine if helmet use increases the risk of neck and cervical spine injury.
Design/method: A population-based study involving injured riders from the Rhône Road Trauma Registry from 1996 to 2005. Victims were only included if they had an injury to a body region other than (or in addition to) the head, face, neck, or cervical spine. Thus, inclusion was not affected by helmet use by the rider. The risk of head, face, neck, and cervical spine injury was assessed, with helmet use as the exposure of interest using logistic regression analyses. Adjusted odds ratios and corresponding confidence intervals were calculated.
Results: Helmet use significantly decreased the risk of head and facial injuries. The adjusted odds ratios for non-helmeted riders were 2.43 (95% CI 2.05 to 2.87) and 3.02 (95% CI 2.48 to 3.67), respectively. There was no association between helmet use and the occurrence of neck or cervical spine injuries. The adjusted odds ratios for non-helmeted riders were 0.86 (95% CI 0.60 to 1.23) and 1.04 (95% CI 0.78 to 1.39), respectively.
Conclusion: Helmets protect users of motorized two-wheel vehicles against head and facial injury without increasing the risk of neck or cervical spine injury.
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Competing interests: None.