Patterns of injury among motorized two-wheeler pillion riders in New Delhi, India

Selma Marie Siddiqui*, Sushma Sagar, Mahesh C. Misra, Amit Gupta, Marie Crandall, Mamta Swaroop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Motorized two-wheelers (MTWs) such as scooters and motorcycles place drivers and passengers at significant risk of injury and death in the event of a road traffic accident. In India, where road traffic is poorly regulated and consists of vehicles ranging from semitrucks to animal carts, the MTW pillion rider (backseat passenger) is particularly vulnerable. Annually, approximately 140,000 Indians are injured or killed in MTW road traffic accidents. In 2011, the city of New Delhi renewed a mandatory helmet use exemption for its 8 million women. We sought to identify the patterns of injury among MTW pillion riders in the city of New Delhi, including differences between helmeted and unhelmeted male and female pillion riders. Methods All records of incoming trauma patients to the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center, New Delhi, were reviewed for the 23-mo period from April 1, 2009 until March 1, 2011. More than 3000 charts were reviewed selecting for patients who were MTW pillion riders involved in road traffic accidents. Data including Glasgow Coma Scale score, number of surgical procedures performed, length of stay, and demographic information were collected from charts that met the criteria. Fisher's exact test was used for categorical variables and Kruskal–Wallis test for continuous variables. Results A total of 466 charts of MTW pillions in road traffic accidents were identified with 108 helmeted males, 161 unhelmeted males, three helmeted females, and 194 unhelmeted females. Females, both unhelmeted and helmeted, were more likely to have head and neck injury than unhelmeted males or helmeted males (66.0% and 66.7% versus 53.4% and 27.8%, P < 0.001). Unhelmeted females were most likely to suffer inhospital mortality (17.6%, P = 0.008) and require intensive care unit admission (40.0%, P = 0.004). Unhelmeted pillions, both male and female, had significantly lower Glasgow Coma Scale scores than helmeted pillions (12.6 and 12.8 versus 13.8 and 15, P = 0.04). Conclusions Female pillions are more likely to have head and neck injury than male pillions, and unhelmeted pillions are more likely to have injuries resulting in their death. This firmly establishes the protective benefit of helmet use for pillions. Encouraging helmet use among all pillions may prevent a significant number of injuries and deaths, and mandatory helmet laws may decrease morbidity and mortality of MTW road traffic accidents for the women of New Delhi and all of India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-146
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Pattern of injury
  • Pillions
  • Two-wheeler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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