Public Health Practitioners' Fact Sheet

The Bicycle Injury Prevention Campaign Toolkit can help you conduct a bicycle safety program. The toolkit materials can be used to increase awareness about the importance of bicycle safety and promote the use of bicycle helmets which have been proven to reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent.

Bicycle Helmets

  • New York State law requires that all children under the age of 14 wear an approved bicycle helmet while bicycling. The maximum penalty for an offense is a $50 fine; however, the fine is waived if a parent can prove that a helmet has been obtained.
  • When fitted properly, bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by 85% and traumatic brain injuries by 88%. New York State encourages the use of bicycle helmets for all ages because of their proven effectiveness.
  • As of March 2000, all bicycle helmets sold in the United States are required to meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) standard for bicycle helmets. Each helmet that meets this standard will display a CPSC logo.
  • The cost of a bicycle helmet is approximately $20.00. The average charge for a hospital stay due to a bicycle related traumatic brain injury is $23,000. In New York State, annual hospitalization charges related to care for persons with a bicycle-related brain injury is $20 million, with an average length of stay of four days.
  • Helmets designed for other uses such as motorcycling or snowmobile riding should never be used for bicycle riding; they may cause riders to be off balance or disrupt their vision, in turn causing a fall.

Bicycle-related Injuries

  • Bicycle-related injury is a leading cause of hospitalization and injury-related deaths. Males account for about three times the number of bicycle-related injuries seen in hospital emergency departments than females.
  • In New York State, almost 19,000 people are treated and released from hospital emergency departments each year and more than 1,650 people are more severely injured and require hospitalization due to bicycle-related injuries. More than one third of those hospitalized have a traumatic brain injury.