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Nusayba Megat-Johari1, Akmalia Shabadin1, Zamira Wan Ahmad1, Jamilah Mohd Marjan1,
Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah1, R.S. Radin Umar2
1
MIROS, 135 Jalan TKS1, Taman Kajang Sentral, 43000 Kajang, Selangor.
2
Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia.
Email: nusayba@miros.gov.my


Motorcyclists constitute forty-nine percent (49%) of the road user population and 60% of road
fatalities involve motorcyclists with head injury being the main cause of death. Compliancy to
proper safety helmet use decreases the risk of head injuries by 2.7 times. The Community
Based Safety Helmet Programme (CBP) is an initiative towards promoting helmet wearing
compliance in rural areas. The objective of this research is to monitor and evaluate the
compliancy rate for safety helmet wearing in selected rural areas throughout Malaysia (Phase
II). With the involvement of various government and non-government agencies, activities such
as advocacy, helmet give-aways and enforcement were incorporated in the programme. During
the course of the CBP, safety helmets were given away on a complimentary basis during talks
and sermons (khutbah) as part of a crash prevention and injury control advocacy program, while
‘   (Corrective Advice Campaign) and enforcement activities were simultaneously
carried out.

 
Percentage of helmet wearing and proper helmet wearing was observed before, during and
after the programme. Helmet compliance data was collected on a weekly basis at each study
area. A similar twin-area was also selected for control sample. Data collected include type of
helmet wearing, i.e. proper wearing, loose, untied and not wearing. A focus was being made on
proper wearing versus wearing (including loose and untied).

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There was an inconsistency in the running of the programme for the second phase by the State
Road Safety Department. Two states (Perak and Selangor) confirmed to have started the
second stage and were joined by MIROS for evaluation process. A change was made to the
original helmet programme. However, the percentage of helmet wearing, continues to be low
(50%-77%). Proper helmet wearing showed the same pattern as wearing. From the study done,
it is found that the percentage of helmet wearing increases after each campaign session (talk,
advocacy programmes) and enforcement programmes. However, along the course of the
duration of data collection it is observed that there was a declining trend in compliancy to helmet
wearing.

It has been established that helmets provide considerable protection in motorcycle crashes. In a
study by Pang et al, the risk of injury associated with helmet use can be reduced by 270%.
Because transportation by motorcycles is so common in Malaysia, there is a high risk of
exposures involved for motorcyclists. This attributes to the high risk for injuries for motorcycle
crashes, associated with incompliancy to helmet use. Furthermore, there is an increase in the
use of motorcycles in Malaysia, especially in large cities, and other urban settings. Currently
there are 8.4 million registered motorcycles in Malaysia (48% of total vehicles in Malaysia).
Although proper helmet wearing was expected to be low, as suggested by the readings in
Phase I, the overall percentage of proper wearing proved to be a serious problem. However, the
extremely low prevalence of proper wearing should give light to better actions to be taken in
advocacy measures by various bodies to increase the proper use of the safety helmet. It is
evident that in the presence of police officers, helmet compliancy is generally high. However,
without specific target for proper helmet wearing, there remains to be a doubt, or inaccuracy of
interpretations on the helmet wearing law.

Data of helmet wearing obtained in this study supports the importance of targeted enforcement
to help increase proper helmet wearing amongst motorcyclists in Malaysia.

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Community Based Programme, Safety Helmet

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