Trends in bicycle helmet use by children: 1985 to 1990

B. D. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated that helmets protect against head injury during bicycle crashes. Several investigators have shown that large-scale, community-wide programs can increase the rate of helmet use by children. The objective of this research was to determine whether helmet use had changed over a 5-year period in a community with no formal programs designed to increase the use of helmets. In 1985 and again in 1990, project staff observed student bicyclists arriving at four elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, and one university campus. The same schools were used both years. There was no significant increase in the percentage of students who used helmets at the middle schools (0 both years), the high schools (1.85% vs 1.45%), or the university (10.0% vs 4.0%). At the four elementary schools, helmet use increased from 1.85% in 1985 to 17.1% in 1990. Much of this increase was attributable to one school at which helmet use increased from 4.4% to 21.4%. This school, and no others, had begun teaching about helmet use in the classroom. The results suggest that (1) helmet use will not increase at the middle school level or higher without specific interventions and (2) simple, low-cost, classroom interventions can increase helmet use by elementary school children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-80
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992


  • bicycle
  • injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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