Bicycle Helmet Use, 2009

In 2009, more than 11.4 million people aged 12 and older reported bicycling according to the Canadian Community Health Survey. Of these, more than 4.1 million, or 36.5%, reported wearing a bicycle helmet all the time.

Several provinces have mandated the use of bicycle helmets1, as wearing a helmet can help prevent or limit the impact of head injuries.2,3 In British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, their use is mandatory for all age groups. In Ontario and Alberta, the legislation applies to children under 18.

People in the two youngest age groups were least likely to wear a bicycle helmet all the time. These were adolescents aged 12 to 19, only 30.6% of whom did so, and young adults aged 20 to 34, 30.5% of whom did so.

Women were more likely to wear a helmet—40.2% of female cyclists did so, compared with 33.8% of their male counterparts. Among males, those aged 12 to 19 and 20 to 34 were least likely to wear a bicycle helmet (Chart 1).

Chart 1
Percentage of cyclists who always wore a bicycle helmet, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 1: Percentage of cyclists who always wore a bicycle helmet, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

The use of bicycle helmets varied considerably across the country. Five provinces and one territory had rates of helmet use above the national average: Nova Scotia, 66.4%; British Columbia, 58.8%; New Brunswick, 51.4%; Prince Edward Island, 51.1%; Yukon, 50.5%; and Alberta, 48.3%. Each of these provinces has bicycle helmet legislation. In Yukon, the City of Whitehorse has an all-ages helmet by-law.

Rates for use were below the national average in Manitoba, 22.4%; Saskatchewan, 22.6%; Quebec, 26.0%; the Northwest Territories, 28.4%; and Ontario, 34.3%. Of these, only Ontario has bicycle helmet legislation.


End notes

1. Safe Kids Canada. "Bike Helmet Legislation Chart". Last updated February 2010. http://www.securijeunescanada.ca/SKCPublicPolicyAdvocacy/custom/BikeHelmet
LegislationChart.pdf (accessed May 12, 2010).
2. Thompson, D.C., F.P. Rivara and R. Thompson. 2001. "Cochrane Review: Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in cyclists." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, The Cochrane Library. Vol. 4. p. 1–37.
3. Macpherson, A. and A. Spinks. 2008. "Bicycle helmet legislation for the uptake of helmet use and prevention of head injuries." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. p. 3.

References

Macpherson, A. and A. Spinks. 2008. "Bicycle helmet legislation for the uptake of helmet use and prevention of head injuries." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Safe Kids Canada. "Bike Helmet Legislation Chart". Last updated February 2010. http://www.securijeunescanada.ca/SKCPublicPolicyAdvocacy/custom/BikeHelmet
LegislationChart.pdf (accessed May 12, 2010).
Thompson, D.C., F.P. Rivara and R. Thompson. 2001. "Cochrane Review: Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in cyclists." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, The Cochrane Library. Vol. 4.

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0501.

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