Canadians See Need for Adult Helmet Use
In Canada, provinces that have adopted mandatory bicycle helmet legislation for children have seen a 45% decrease in the number of bicycle-related head injuries compared to a 27% drop in provinces that have not mandated helmet use.
Unfortunately, cycling-related head injuries among adults continue to increase. In fact, in Ontario, which has helmet laws for children but not for adults, has 20% more adult cycling-related head injuries over the past three years. This increase, and those in other provinces as well, have renewed the call for all-ages helmet legislation. At the current time, only three provinces have all-ages helmet laws: British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
According to research conducted by Alison, Macpherson, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health science at York University in Toronto, 69,670 adults were treated for cycling-related injuries in Ontario emergency rooms between 2003 and 2006; of those injuries, over 16,000 were head injuries.
Charles Tator, a neurosurgeon at the Think First Foundation (brain injury prevention promoter), said the most devastating consequence of a cycling-related accident is almost always brain injury. He states, “The impact of a head with the pavement…you sustain horrible injuries.” He noted that it can cost up to $8 million to treat a serious brain injury. A bicycle helmet costs around $10 and can prevent or, at least mitigate most injuries.
Studies show that today only a minority of adult cyclists wear helmets and cite barriers to helmet use as they are uncomfortable, unattractive-looking, and mess up hair.