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Changes to Puerto Rico's motorcycle rider law.
  • Published Date:
    2017-04-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.04 MB]


Details:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
    DOT HS 812 397
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
  • Edition:
    Final report, 05/10/2010 - 12/30/2011
  • Format:
  • Abstract:
    In 2007 Puerto Rico enacted Law 107, a motorcycle safety law that introduced or expanded previous safety-related statutes

    such as requiring motorcycle riders and passengers to wear (1) reflective vests at night and protective gear at all times of day,

    (2) maintain daytime running headlights and taillights while operating the motorcycle at all times, (3) stay in the same lane

    as other vehicles, and (4) it lowered the illegal level of per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) illegal level for motorcycle

    riders from .08 g/dL to .02 g/dL. The purpose of this project was to examine the degree to which the law was enforced,

    assess motorcycle riders' reactions to the law, and estimate the law's impact on motorcycle crashes, fatalities, and arrests.

    Observations of motorcycle riders found that 366 (86.3%) wore Department of Transportation-compliant helmets,

    49 (11.6%) wore non-DOT-compliant helmets, and 9 (2.1%) did not wear any type of helmet. Over 80 percent of observed

    riders wore protective gear; 416 (98.1%) wore long pants, 340 (80.2%) wore protective shoes that covered the ankle, 397

    (93.6%) wore some type of eye protection, and 354 (83.5%) wore protective gloves.

    Discussions with motorcycle riders indicated that riders accepted the statutes of the motorcycle law, especially those

    requiring protective gear. However, the perception among these riders was that enforcement of the law was lacking or

    uneven. Discussions with law enforcement officers revealed that officers perceived that helmet and protective gear use

    quickly and clearly increased among riders after the law’s enactment. Also, officers noted that it was difficult to recognize

    cues of impairment for motorcycle riders with BACs at or just over .02 g/dL.

    BAC data collected at checkpoints revealed that 6.5 percent of passenger car drivers had positive BACs compared to 29.1

    percent of motorcycle riders. Data from citation logs issued at checkpoints suggest that motorcycle riders were cited at BACs

    lower than .08 g/dL. For example, about 20 percent of passenger car drivers and over 50 percent of motorcycle riders were

    cited at BACs between .01 and .07 g/dL. This difference may indicate that the .02 BAC law for riders was being enforced.

    Until 2007 Puerto Rico had experienced a steady increase in motorcycle crash fatalities beginning in 2003 with 54 fatalities

    until a peak at 2006 with 111 fatalities. Following 2007 (the year the law was enacted), fatalities decreased steadily, from

    2007 onward with 83 fatalities, to 47 fatalities in 2012 (the latest data that were available at the time of this study).

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