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J Pediatr. 2013 Sep;163(3):726-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.03.073. Epub 2013 May 24.

Bicycle helmet laws are associated with a lower fatality rate from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions.

Author information

1
Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, MA, USA. concussion.sportsmed@childrens.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the association between bicycle helmet legislation and bicycle-related deaths sustained by children involved in bicycle-motor vehicle collisions.

STUDY DESIGN:

We conducted a cross-sectional study of all bicyclists aged 0-16 years included in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System who died between January 1999 and December 2010. We compared fatality rates in age-specific state populations between states with helmet laws and those without helmet laws. We used a clustered Poisson multivariate regression model to adjust for factors previously associated with rates of motor vehicle fatalities: elderly driver licensure laws, legal blood alcohol limit (<0.08% vs ≥ 0.08%), and household income.

RESULTS:

A total of 1612 bicycle-related fatalities sustained by children aged <16 years were evaluated. There were no statistically significant differences in median household income, the proportion of states with elderly licensure laws, or the proportion of states with a blood alcohol limit of >0.08% between states with helmet laws and those without helmet laws. The mean unadjusted fatality rate was lower in states with helmet laws (2.0/1,000,000 vs 2.5/1,000,000; P = .03). After adjusting for potential confounding factors, lower fatality rates persisted in states with mandatory helmet laws (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.70-0.98).

CONCLUSION:

Bicycle helmet safety laws are associated with a lower incidence of fatalities in child cyclists involved in bicycle-motor vehicle collisions.

KEYWORDS:

FARS; Fatality Analysis Reporting System; NHTSA; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PMID:
23706604
PMCID:
PMC3755017
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.03.073
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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