Analysis of


      October 1994

      77% of Suburban Commuter Cyclists Wearing Helmets

      Suburban cyclists are wearing helmets in greater numbers than their urban counterparts in Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario. Based on observations of 4,500 cyclists, 77% of commuter cyclists and 68% of recreation cyclists in the suburbs were wearing helmets. (It has been reported by one cyclist group that 90% of commuter cyclists were wearing helmets at the eastern end of the Ottawa region this past summer). Helmet wearing rates in the central area of Ottawa were 61% of commuter cyclists and 39% of recreational cyclists. Ottawa male recreational cyclists under 18 years old had the lowest rate of 32%.

      Overall, 63.2% of commuter cyclists* and 48.5% of recreational cyclists** were wearing helmets. Over 4700 cyclists were counted. The counts took place during October 1994.

      It was reported following a 1992 survey that helmet use among Ottawa cyclists was 50%. In our observations 54% of all cyclists wore helmets but this is skewed because more recreation cyclists than commuters were counted (by a factor of almost 2 to 1). The blended rate for all cyclists is 56% which represents a further 11% increase since 1992.

      The counts seem to demonstrate that Ottawa region cyclists are choosing to wear bicycle helmets without the iron fist of government, and the continuing increase in helmet use indicates that Ontario's helmet law will be substantially redundant by the date it comes into effect, October 1, 1995.

      * commuter cyclist is defined as one riding a bicycle during weekday rush hours

      ** recreational cyclist is defined as one riding a bicycle on the weekend

October 1994
Return to: Home