Introduction Motorcycle accidents are increasing in several parts of world (Asia, Africa and Latin America) and are associated with high levels of mortality and morbidity.
Objectives To assess time trends in mortality due to motorcycle accidents in Distrito Federal, Brazil, in the period between 1996 and 2007.
Methods Mortality data and estimates of resident population, stratified by age and sex were obtained from the Brazilian Mortality Information System (SIM) for 1996–2007. Age-standardised mortality rates were calculated by the direct method using the 2000 Brazilian population. Trends were modelled using linear regression. Joinpoint regression method was used to study the annual per cent change in mortality rates.
Results There were 580 deaths of motorcyclists during the studied period. They were men (94.3%), aged between 20 and 29-year-old (73.8%) and mulattos (71.0%). Standard mortality rate of motorcyclists among males was 1.9 death/100 000 males in 1996 and increased to 7.2 deaths/100 000 males in 2007. In 1998 there were 2.0 deaths/10 000 motorcycles and in 2007 there were 10 deaths/10 000 motorcycles in DF. The estimated annual increase in age-standardised mortality rate was 0.48 deaths/100 000 men (95% CI 0.31 to 0.65; p<0.001). The annual per cent change in age-standardised mortality rate among males in the period between 1998 and 2007 was 36.2% (95% CI 21.2% to 53.2%; p<0.05).
Conclusions There was an important increase in mortality due to motorcycle accidents. The fleet explained in part this increase. But additional studies are necessary to investigate factors associated to this type of transport accidents.