Mexico Motorcycle Helmet Coalition begins activity, with support of FIA Foundation
The Mexican Motorcycle Helmet Coalition has launched with new data on motorcycles trends at its first meeting, organised by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) with support of the FIA Foundation.
The Coalition aims to establish multi-sectoral strategies and actions to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from motorcycle traffic crashes nationwide. At the first meeting, more than 40 participants from the national and subnational public sector, the private sector, and civil society organizations, gathered to discuss road safety. During the session, participants established three goals for the Coalition: to make more affordable the supply of safe helmets, to raise awareness about the importance of using certified helmets and to strengthen the regulatory framework and its enforcement.
In recent years, there has been an alarming upward trend in the number of deaths and injuries of motorcyclists on the road. Between 2013 and 2018, the number of motorcyclists killed on the road increased by 73.5%. Increasing the use of protective accessories, especially certified helmets, is a key step in preventing deaths and injuries, as they can reduce the risk of serious head injuries by up to 72% and the risk of death by up to 39% (WHO, 2017).
The main goal of the Helmet Coalition is to increase the use of certified helmets, since not all helmets protect users in the same way: an inadequate helmet can be more dangerous than not wearing a helmet because it creates a false sense of protection. In addition, an uncertified helmet can cause serious injury due to breakage resulting in sharp shards.
In the meeting Gonzalo Peón Carballo, Director of the Mexico Program of ITDP, presented preliminary results from the regulatory analysis, surveys and field work that ITDP is carrying out in six metropolitan areas of the country. Findings highlight a disparity in the use of helmets nationwide; in some municipalities, more than 40% of motorcyclists do not wear proper helmets. The average price of approved helmets, the equivalent of around $151 USD, is unaffordable for a large percentage of the population - 35% of employed Mexicans earn less than 3,967 Pesos ($195 USD) a month. Finally, the report identified that traffic regulations that require the use of certified helmets are rare.
The next steps for the Helmet Coalition in Mexico will be to complete the situational analysis, continue the regional and sectoral meetings to define actions focused on improving road safety for motorcyclists, and promote the expansion of the Coalition to bring together more stakeholders.
Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “The establishment of the Mexican national helmet coalition, with the collaborative support of long-term partner ITDP Mexico, will build the foundations to assess the sharp and increasing need to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing motorcycle fleet across the country. This lifesaving work is already crystallising cross-sectoral cooperation at the highest levels to build the frameworks to deliver safe journeys for all.”