Objectives: This study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of 3 different bicycle helmet laws.
Methods: A direct observational study of nearly 1000 cyclists at 20 matched sites in each of 3 contiguous counties--Rockland and Westchester in New York and Fairfield in Connecticut--was carried out. Rockland's bicycle helmet law requires approved helmets for all cyclists regardless of age; Westchester's, by state law, requires cyclists younger than 14 years to wear helmets; and Fairfield's, also by state law, requires cyclists younger than 12 years to wear helmets when riding on highways.
Results: Rockland cyclists had the highest helmet use rate (35%), followed by Westchester (24%) and Fairfield (14%) cyclists. As a subgroup, teenagers used helmets least, a trend that was seen in all 3 counties.
Conclusions: Our study suggests a positive effect of bicycle helmet legislation with no age limitation.