Frequently asked Questions
For Policy Makers
Minimal impact of helmet laws on head injuries
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, helmet legislation
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Decline in head injuries not due to helmet laws
Research that has looked at child bicycle-related injury rates (head and other) i
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The Nova Scotia helmet law came into effect from July 1997 and was enforced from 1st September 1997. It covers cyclists of all ages.
The minimum penalty for an offence against the law is CAD25. Parents are responsible for offences committed by children under 16 years if aware that the child did not wear a helmet. In addition, a peace officer may seize and detain for 30 days the bicycle of a person not wearing a helmet.
On 12 January 2007, the law was extended to include skateboarders and in-line skaters and to apply off-road as well as on-road.
The proportion of cyclists wearing helmets was as follows (LeBlanc, Beattie and Culligan, 2002):
Injuries to cyclists based on data at the IWK Health Centre, Halifax changed thus (LeBlanc, Beattie and Culligan, 2002):
Relative to cycle use (see below), the law did not change the number of head injuries but the total number of cycling injuries doubled.
Post-law cycle use fell by 40% to 60%, with the largest decrease among teenagers. The rise in the number of people wearing helmets was less than the fall in cyclists in the two years following the law (Chipman, 2002).
|Average cyclists per day, Halifax||88||34||52|
|% child cyclists||8.1%||6.1%||3.7%|
No data available.
Chipman ML, 2002. Hats off (or not?) to helmet legislation. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2002 Mar 5;166(5):602.
LeBlanc, Beattie and Culligan, 2002
LeBlanc JC, Beattie TL, Culligan C, 2002. Effect of legislation on the use of bicycle helmets. Canadian Medical Association Journal CMAJ 2002;166(5): p592-5.