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Policy statement

Helmet laws: Alberta

Introduction and scope

The Alberta helmet law came into effect from 1st May 2002. It applies to cyclists under 18 years of age and includes passengers and toddlers on tricycles.

Compliance and enforcement

Not known.

Effect on casualties

In the three years prior to the law, % head injuries were relatively constant at just above 5%. In the six months following the law, % head injuries increased to above 10% for children and just under 10% for all age groups. (BHRF, 1055) (based on data from 9 health regions)

The number of children treated in emergency rooms for non-head injuries was an average of 1,762 per year in 2003-6 compared with 1,676 in 1999-2002, despite there having been a fall of 56% in children cycling over the period. For teenagers the average number of injuries rose from 870 to 1,101 per year while the amount of cycling went down by 27%. (BHRF, 1250; Karkhaneh, 2011).

Effect on cycle use

Surveys in Edmonton in 2000 (pre-law) and 2004 (post-law) suggest that cycling by children and teenagers has been significantly reduced compared with adults (59% children, 41% teenagers) (Hagel et al, 2006).

Later surveys across several Albertan cities showed that child cycling had gone down by 56% and teenage cycling by 27% (BHRF, 1250; Karkhaneh, 2011).


No data available.


BHRF, 1055

Head injuries up after Alberta law?. .

BHRF, 1250

Alberta's helmet law – children's cycling halved, injuries increased per cyclist. .

Hagel et al, 2006

Hagel BE, Rizkallah JW, Lamy A, Belton KL, Jhangri GS, Cherry N, Rowe BH, 2006. Bicycle helmet prevalence two years after the introduction of mandatory use legislation for under 18s in Alberta, Canada. Injury Prevention 2006;12:262-265.

Karkhaneh, 2011

Karkhaneh M, 2011. Bicycle helmet use and bicyclists head injuries before and after helmet legislation in Alberta Canada. University of Alberta .

See also