Evaluation of the Bicycle Helmet Wearing Law in Victoria During its First 12 Months

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #32 - 1992

Authors: M. Cameron, L. Heiman, D. Neiger

Full report in .pdf format [2.1MB]


From 1 July 1990, cyclists in Victoria were required by law to wear an approved helmet whilst cycling. Wearing rates for bicyclists in Victoria had risen from 5% in 1982/83 to 31% in 1989190, and then rose to 75% in 1990191 following introduction of the helmet wearing law. Surveys conducted in 1990 and 1991 revealed a 36% decrease in cycling by children between the two years, but a comparison of the 1991 survey results for adults with a similar survey in 1987188 showed that adult bicycle use had increased by 58%. Analysis of bicyclist injury data showed a large reduction (37-51%) in the number of bicyclists killed or admitted to hospital with head injuries during the first 12 months of the law (1990/91). There were, however, also substantial (21-24%) reductions in the number of severely injured bicyclists who did not sustain head injury. Nevertheless, the percentage of severely injured bicyclists who suffered a head injury during the post-law period was significantly below that which would have been expected had pre-law helmet wearing rates continued unchanged. There is an indication that increased helmet wearing in the post-law period has not been as effective in reducing the risk of head injury to crash-involved cyclists as would have been predicted from relationships observed during pre-law years.

Sponsoring Organisation: Baseline Research Program - Australian Road Research Board, Ministry for Police and Emergency Services, Transport Accident Commission, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd, VicRoads.