A comparison of the effect of different bicycle helmet laws in 3 New York City suburbs

Am J Public Health. 1999 Nov;89(11):1736-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.11.1736.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Bicycling*
  • Child
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Suburban Health / statistics & numerical data*