Issue: Head injuries
Head injuries are the leading cause of severe injury and injury-related deaths to children on bicycles.
Problem: Low helmet use
Research shows that a properly fitted helmet can decrease the risk of serious head injury by over 80 per cent. This means that four out of five head injuries could be prevented if every cyclist wore a helmet.
Solution: Helmet laws encourage helmet use
Helmet laws encourage helmet use for all ages. Head injury rates among child and youth cyclists are about 25 per cent lower in provinces with helmet laws, compared to provinces without. Currently, six provinces have cycling legislation in place, but only four cover all ages. Legislation, in conjunction with ongoing education and enforcement programs, is necessary to make helmet use the norm. Both helmet use and cycling should be promoted to keep kids healthy, active and safe.
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Government, industry, communities and all stakeholders can promote healthy, active, safe living and a culture of cycling. This means reducing traffic speed in communities through lower speed limits and traffic calming, but could also include the development of areas for recreational biking. Improving road safety requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the road design in a community as well as the way vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists use the street.