Rates of bicycle helmet use in an affluent Michigan County.
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Rates of bicycle helmet use in an affluent Michigan County.

  • Published Date:

    1994 Mar-Apr

  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 109(2):296-301
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-1.04 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
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  • Description:
    Bicycle helmet use in the United States has remained low despite clear demonstration of its beneficial effect on reducing the incidence of serious head injury. Several interventions have been reported, with variable results and costs. Much of the recent literature has focused on child cyclists and on demographic factors associated with helmet use. This paper reports on helmet use by children and adults in a sample of 652 riders in an affluent southeast Michigan region, chosen to minimize the effect of previously recognized socioeconomic negative predictors that are not readily changed by intervention. Subjects were classified by age, sex, location, riding surface, type of bicycle, child bicycle seat use, child bicycle trailer use, and helmet use by companions. Overall helmet use was 24 percent; infants and toddlers had the highest rate of helmet use at 61 percent, followed by adults at 26 percent and school-aged children at 17 percent. The strongest predictor of helmet use in all age categories was the presence of a helmeted companion. Adult helmet use was also positively predicted by riding in the street and by riding a racing-type bicycle. The use of a city-type bicycle negatively predicted helmet use. For non-adults, female sex and the use of a child seat or trailer were positive predictors. Fostering peer pressure to increase helmet use may be an effective yet relatively inexpensive way to achieve the goal of widespread use of bicycle helmets.
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