Moving targets: Bicycle-related injuries and helmet use among university students

Lynne Fullerton, Thomas Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate bicyding habits and helmet use in a sample of university students in a southwestern state university. Thirty-one of 100 students in our sample owned bicycle helmets; of these, 17 (54.8%) wore helmets during most (more than three fourths) of their bicycle trips. Almost half of the students reported that more than 25% of their bicycling was done in heavy traffic but they rarely used bicycle trails. Sixty-five students in the sample had sustained at least one minor injury during the previous 5 years, and 18 had been hospitalized as a result of bicycle-related injuries. We found no substantial differences between male and female subjects in bicycle-related hospitalizations, although male subjects were more likely to sustain minor injuries than were females. Helmet ownership was most strongly associated with previous injury experience, especially hospitalization resulting from bicycling injuries (OR = 3.6; 95% CI = 1.3, 10.1). We also observed an association between helmet ownership and possession of insurance coverage for bicyding injuries (OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.2, 7.6). Ethnicity was a factor in helmet ownership— helmets were owned by 26 of 69 (37.7%) of non-Hispanic whites, in contrast to 1 of 24 (4.2%) of all other enthic groups combined. Our survey data suggest that perceived risk is an important factor in bicyclists' use of safety helmets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College Health Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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