OBSERVATIONAL EVALUATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH TRAFFIC REGULATIONS
AMONG HELMETED AND NONHELMETED CYCLISTS
Farris C, Spaite DW, Criss EA, Valenzuela TD, Meislin HW
Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center, Department of Surgery,
University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, USA
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether helmeted bicyclists are more
compliant with traffic regulations than nonhelmeted bicyclists.
METHODS: This prospective observational study, using a convenience
sample, was conducted during daylight hours at three separate
intersections, marked with legal stop signs, near the campus of a
major university. Data collected included helmet use, legal hand
signal use to indicate a turn or stop, and whether the bicyclist
came to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection.
RESULTS: A total of 1,793 bicyclists were evaluated. Only 8.8% of
the bicycle riders were wearing helmets. Helmeted bicyclists were
2.6 times more likely than nonhelmeted bicyclists to make legal stops
(P < .000001; odds ratio [OR], 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.1
to 4.6). They were also 7.1 times more likely to use hand signals
(P < .000001; OR, 7.2; 95% CI, 2.8 to 18.2).
CONCLUSION: Helmeted bicycle riders showed a significantly
greater compliance with two traffic laws than nonhelmeted bicyclists.
They were 2.6 times more likely to stop at stop signs and 7.1 times
more likely to use legal hand signals. This very strong association
of helmet use with safer riding habits has implications for injury-
control efforts aimed at preventing bicycle-related injuries.
Farris C, Spaite DW, Criss EA, Valenzuela TD, Meislin HW,
Observational evaluation of compliance with traffic regulations among
helmeted and nonhelmeted bicyclists, Ann Emerg Med 1997 May;29(5):625-9