In 2010 and 2011, “Road Safety Watch”, which is a state agency supervised by the Prime Minister, led a survey to know how many percent of the bike drivers and passengers were actually wearing a helmet. You can download the whole survey here (PDF, 2.2 Mb). It’s in Thai (with the three first pages explaining how the survey was conducted), but we will sum up the results for you. The survey, which was based on observation, was done seriously enough, in all provinces and at different times of the day.
In 2010, 53% of the bike riders wore a helmet, and only 19% of the pillion riders (as a total, 44% of the people on a bike wore a helmet). It got slightly better in 2011, with 54% of the riders and 24% of the passengers, for a total of 46%.
The central region of Thailand, with an average of 55% people wearing a helmet in 2011, is doing better than the rest of the country (43% in the North, 37% in Issan and 41% in the South). Not surprisingly, Bangkok is where most people wear a helmet, with a total of 82%. Then comes Phuket with 71% and Nonthaburi with 64%. At the bottom, among the last 8 provinces, 3 are provinces from the South (only 19% of the riders in Narathiwat wore a helmet, 25% in Pattani and 26% in Yala) and 3 are in Issan (Buriram with 23%, Yasothon with 23%, Chaiyaphum with 24%).
As far as age difference is concerned, the survey showed that 53% of adults wore a helmet in 2011, while only 34% of the teenagers did.
The survey took place from 7:00 to 20:00, and it shows that more people wore a helmet during the morning and beginning of afternoon (average of 63% from 9:00 to 14:00). After 15:00, the percentage starts to decrease, and from 19:00 to 20:00 only 41% of the riders wore a helmet.
Overall it’s not an uninteresting survey, but now it would be interesting to know why people wear or don’t wear a helmet. Do they consider it could save their lives in case of accident? How do they rate their chance of having an accident? Do they wear one to avoid being fined by the police? Is a helmet an expensive item? Is it too hot to wear a helmet? Does it messes up the hair? With solid information about the causes, a campaign could be targeted more efficiently.