Issue: Head injuries
Head injuries are the leading cause of severe injury and injury-related deaths to children on bicycles.
Problem: Low helmet use
Research shows that bicycle helmet use reduces head injuries by more than 40 per cent, serious head injuries by 60 per cent and traumatic brain injury by 53 per cent. Helmet use reduces the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34 per cent.
Solution: Helmet laws encourage helmet use
When helmet use is mandatory, head injury is reduced by 20 per cent and serious injury is reduced by as much as 55 per cent. Helmet laws should apply to all ages, as they are most effective in preventing head injury among children when helmet use is mandatory for everyone. Currently, eight provinces have cycling legislation in place, but only five cover all ages.
Mandatory helmets for all ages
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Mandatory helmets for 18
and under only
Legislation, in conjunction with ongoing education and enforcement programs, is necessary to make helmet use the norm. Both helmet use and cycling should be promoted to keep kids healthy, active and safe.
Government, industry, communities and all stakeholders can promote healthy, active, safe living and a culture of cycling. This includes reducing traffic speed in communities through lower speed limits and traffic calming, and also the development of areas for recreational biking. Improving road safety requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the road design in a community as well as the way vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists use the street.