Injury patterns and mortality rates of motorcycle-related head injuries in Kenya

  • SJ Kiplagat
  • T Steyl


Background: Motorcycles are an emerging means of public transportation in many developing countries and has a poor safety record when compared to other road users. Subsequently, motorcycle injuries have been on the rise and head injuries are the leading cause of death, severe injury and disability globally.

Objectives: To determine the injury patterns and mortality rate of motorcycle-related head injuries.

Design: A retrospective descriptive study.

Setting: Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital

Subjects: All motorcycle-related head injuries from the year 2010 to 2013.

Results: One hundred and fourteen files were reviewed. The study sample was predominantly male (n=106; 93%) with a mean age of 30.2 years (SD=14.01). More than half of the patients sustained skull fractures and intra-cranial haemorrhage (n=68; 59.6%). About 9.6% (n=11) of the patients succumbed to their injuries out of which 63.6% (n=7) sustained severe head injuries. There was a significant association between helmet use and the mortality rate of patients (χ2=5.684; p=0.017). The use of helmets also had an influence on the type of injury sustained (p=0.004) as patients not wearing helmets sustained more serious injuries such as skull fractures, intra-cranial bleeding, cerebral oedema and diffuse axonal injuries.

Conclusion: There is a relationship between helmet use, the type of injury sustained
and the mortality rate of the patients. Hence, the need for public education programmes
on motorcycle safety and helmet use to curb the negative impact of motorcycle-related
injuries on the society and economy.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X