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Bicycle Safety (cont.)

Legislation Promoting Safety

Perhaps the easiest step a rider can take to prevent bicycle-related injury and death is to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, many riders disregard this, placing themselves at great risk.

  • Mandatory helmet laws have been shown to increase helmet use, which reduces significantly the incidence and severity of head injuries.

    • Mandatory use of helmets has proven to reduce severe injuries by almost 85% in addition to cutting the number of bicycle-related fatalities.

    • Children wear a protective helmet almost twice as much as adults, probably due to parental insistence. Nevertheless, younger children have a higher proportion of head injuries than older children.

    • A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration poll reported that 50% of bicyclists wear a helmet for at least some trips, with 35% using them for all or most trips.

    • The majority of bicyclists (98%) report wearing a helmet for safety reasons - 70% because of insistence of a parent or spouse and 44% because of laws, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    • Helmets must be used whenever riding a bicycle! Children should be monitored to be certain that they do not avoid helmet use because of peer pressure.

    • It is important that the helmet fits properly and is worn correctly. A proper fit helps a bicyclist realize the full benefit of helmet use. A poorly fitting helmet provides significantly less protection.

  • Currently, only 21 states and the District of Columbia states have laws requiring helmet use by young bicyclists.

    • Local communities have enacted ordinances mandating use of helmets while bicycling.

    • It is estimated that 18 million bicycles and 12-15 million helmets are sold annually in the U.S. There is added benefit for all helmet owners: helmets can be used during other activities with a potential for head injury, such as riding scooters and skateboards as well as participating in water sports.

  • Nevertheless, 95% of bicyclists killed in 2006 were reportedly not wearing a protective helmet.

  • It is estimated that 52% to 60% of bicycle-related head injury deaths could be prevented by the use of a protective helmet.

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