Jamaican motorcycle helmet wearing coalition launches, supported by FIA Foundation

Jamaican motorcycle helmet wearing coalition launches, supported by FIA Foundation

A new coalition has been launched to address Jamaica’s high motorcycle death toll in a programme convened by the Jamaican National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and the JN Foundation, supported by the FIA Foundation. 

The National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) aims to raise awareness about motorcycle helmet safety and prioritise the import and use of certified helmets through advocacy for policy development around helmet quality regulation and capacity-building initiatives. Research has shown that a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 42% and the risk of head injury by 69% in a crash. The work is set against high motorcycle-related deaths and low helmet use in the country, as well as data indicating a gap between public awareness, ownership, and use of certified, standardised protective gear. 

The Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security delivers the key note speech of the Coalition launch

The launch event was opened by Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, who said: “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the National Road Safety Council, JN Foundation and the FIA Foundation for their tremendous contribution for an initiative such as this project. Motorcycle related issues must be addressed as a crucial component of our country’s overall strategy to improve public order and save lives.” 

The membership of the Coalition is drawn from government, law enforcement, transport associations, private sector, non-governmental organisations, youth organisations, academia, parish development committees, and international organisations. The first meeting of the Coalition was held following the launch ceremony. 

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, added, “We have some understanding of how some other countries are trying to deal with their motorcycle issues. What we at the FIA Foundation have experienced is that having a National Helmet Wearing Coalition is a really great way to try to grapple with this. This is a shared responsibility, but the government must take the lead.” 

The FIA Foundation is supporting the Jamaican National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) convened by the NRSC and JN Foundation

Earl Jarrett, CEO of the Jamaica National Group and Director of the JN Foundation, said: “It’s all about putting people first, which is our motto at the JN Group, and recognising the need for us to have a healthy, vibrant society. Motorcycle fatalities is one of the largest group of fatalities, with recent data indicating that it is accounting for more than 30 per cent of all road fatalities. We are in danger of losing a generation of young people to these accidents and if awareness and persuasion were in place, we could have probably changed the trajectory of those who died,” he said. 

Recent data from the NRSC indicated that despite 94% of motorcyclists recognising that helmets can save lives, 60% of respondents report riding without helmets at times. Data also highlighted that up to 80% of motorcycle riders involved in crashes who were not wearing helmets suffered fatal or severe head injuries on the nation’s roads. 

Dr Lucien Jones, Chairman of the Project Steering Committee and Vice Chairman of the NRSC, also announced during the launch that the Ministry of National Security has already donated more than 2,000 helmets to the work of the Coalition.

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