As I walk to work along Toronto’s traffic-congested Bloor street I’m surprised by how often I see adult cyclists—who I presume are intelligent people also on their way to work—without helmets. But a new study by Dr. Patricia Parkin and her colleagues at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) should make these folks think twice before heading out with unprotected heads.
The research, published this week in the journal Pediatrics, found that the average number of bicycle-related deaths for children under 15 years of age decreased by 52 percent since a bicycle helmet law was introduced in Ontario in 1995. Ontario’s helmet law currently requires only those under age 18 to wear head protection. (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and British Columbia are the only provinces with provincial legislation that requires bicycle helmets for all ages.)
Before the Ontario law was introduced, there were an average of 13 deaths per year from cycling head injuries, compared with six deaths a year afterward; the finding translates into a life saved roughly every two months. The researchers concluded that these findings provide support for extending the law to include adults.
Do you wear a helmet when cycling? Do your kids? Your partner? For tips on finding a helmet that fits properly, see Safe Kids Canada.