Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Promotion and Human Performance

Committee Member

Kathleen Conley, Ph.D, Chair

Committee Member

Joan Cowdery, Ph.D

Committee Member

Christopher Herman, Ph.D


Helmets can offer significant injury protection to motorcyclists, yet usage is inconsistent across the United States. In 2012, the state of Michigan switched from a universal helmet law to partial helmet law. Michigan motorcyclists (n = 76) were recruited through two motorcycling events and two motorcycling social media pages to participate in an online survey that applied Health Belief Model constructs to examine attitudes and beliefs around the decision to wear or not wear a helmet. Significant differences in perceptions of Health Belief Model constructs were found between always-helmeted and not-always-helmeted respondents. Always-helmeted respondents reported significantly greater perceived susceptibility of injury, cited fewer barriers of helmet use, and identified more cues to action than not-always-helmeted respondents. This pilot study contributes to the body of research following the weakened helmet law in Michigan and offers a springboard for identifying perceptions of Michigan motorcyclists for future health messaging.