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February 24, 1989

The Public Cost of Motorcycle Trauma

Author Affiliations

Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur Columbus, Ohio

Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur Columbus, Ohio

JAMA. 1989;261(8):1149. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420080063019

To the Editor. —  It comes as no surprise that society pays for the majority of health care for injured motorcyclists.1I am surprised, however, that Rivara et al1 jump to the conclusion that their data support mandatory helmet laws. As stated by the authors, no comparison of helmeted vs nonhelmeted motorcyclists was made in their study. Their conclusion is supported only by reference to a study that dealt with fatalities, not costs.Some people theorize that helmet laws result in greater overall cost to society because individuals who otherwise would have been killed survive with severe permanent disabilities. I was hoping that Rivara et al would address this sobering question.