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.
Copyright © 2013 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.