Bicycle helmet use among persons 5 years and older in the United States, 2012☆
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Bicycle helmet use among persons 5 years and older in the United States, 2012☆

Filetype[PDF-1.18 MB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      J Safety Res
    • Description:

      In 2013, injuries to bicyclists accounted for 925 fatalities and 493,884 nonfatal, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States. Bicyclist deaths increased by 19% from 2010 to 2013. The greatest risk of death and disability to bicyclists is head injuries. The objective of this study was to provide estimates of prevalence and associated factors of bicycle riding and helmet use among children and adults in the United States.


      CDC analyzed self-reported data from the 2012 Summer ConsumerStyles survey. Adult respondents (18+ years) were asked about bicycle riding and helmet use in the last 30 days for themselves and their children (5 to 17 years). For bicycle riders, CDC estimated the prevalence of helmet use and conducted multivariable regression analyses to identify factors associated with helmet use.


      Among adults, 21% rode bicycles within the past 30 days and 29% always wore helmets. Respondents reported that, of the 61% of children who rode bicycles within the past 30 days, 42% always wore helmets. Children were more likely to always wear helmets (90%) when their adult respondents always wore helmets than when their adult respondents did not always wear helmets (38%). Children who lived in states with a child bicycle helmet law were more likely to always wear helmets (47%) than those in states without a law (39%).


      Despite the fact that bicycle helmets are highly effective at reducing the risk for head injuries, including severe brain injuries and death, less than half of children and adults always wore bicycle helmets while riding.

      Practical application

      States and communities should consider interventions that improve the safety of riding such as policies to promote helmet use, modeling of helmet wearing by adults, and focusing on high risk groups, including Hispanic cyclists, occasional riders, adults, and children ages 10 to 14.

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