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April 25, 1986

Public Funds and the Injured Motorcyclist

Author Affiliations

School of Hygiene and Public Health Johns Hopkins University Baltimore

JAMA. 1986;255(16):2161. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370160059016

To the Editor.—  The article by Bray et al1 concerning payment of hospitalization costs for motorcycle injuries addresses an important issue in public health, and I applaud the authors for their effort. Since motorcycles are an inexpensive form of transportation with special appeal for young, risk-taking males, it is not surprising that injured cyclists prove to have low rates of insurance and high reliance on public funds. Documentation of this fact is important if policy is to be influenced.After reading this BRIEF REPORT, however, I wished to comment on several issues it raises. First, and most important, the role of alcohol was not emphasized sufficiently. The fact that between 16 and 38 (31% to 75% ) of 51 drivers were legally intoxicated at the time of hospital admission is consistent with the belief that alcohol is a potent risk factor in motorcycle injury. Compared with automobiles, motorcycles are unforgiving