To observe the effect of new legislation and a boroughwide bicycle helmet educational campaign on bicycle helmet use in a multiracial population.
A prospective observational study. Observations were made at randomly selected sites in Queens (study group) and Brooklyn (control group), NY, in May 1994, before a New York State law affecting both boroughs was enacted and before a bicycle helmet educational campaign was conducted in Queens. Variables observed included age, sex, race, and whether the child was wearing a bicycle helmet while riding. A bicycle helmet campaign was conducted in late May 1994. New York State bicycle helmet law was effected on June 1, 1994, requiring all children aged 1 to 14 years to wear helmets while riding their bicycles. Follow-up observations were made at the same sites in July or August 1994.
Queens County, New York, which is the most racially diverse county in the United States, according to 1990 census data.
Cross-sectional observations of children aged 1 to 14 years made at randomly selected sites.
A boroughwide bicycle helmet educational campaign conducted in May 1994 in Queens.
The overall use of helmets increased from 4.7% (13/276) to 13.9% (44/316) (P<.001) in the study group. Helmet use decreased from 5.6% (19/342) to 4.2% (13/312) (P=.10) in the control group during the same period.
In a multiracial population, a statistically significant (P<.001) increase of helmet use was demonstrated after a campaign and distribution of educational material. Legislation alone is inadequate for ensuring increased bicycle helmet use.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:41-44