Bicycle use and protective use of helmets

Jordi Garcia, Antoni Martińez-Roig, Antonio Mur Sierra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


Background. The Spanish government issued a proposal of a law to mandate the use of helmet for bicycle riders in the cities; this law generated significant controversy and was eventually amended to mandate the use of helmets to riders younger than 18 years of age only. Objective. To review the status of the legislation on the use of helmet for bicycle riders globally, and to describe the profile of the riders, the mechanisms of accident and its resulting major injuries, and the protective effect of the helmet and its regulatory framework. Method. Literature review using the PubMed database including articles related to bicycle helmet use in the last 15 years in the English or Spanish language. Results. There is not a uniform approach to the regulation of helmet use for bicycle riders in the different countries. Young men are the most common users of bicycles in the cities. Falls without another vehicle involved in the accident are the most common events (77.5%), and the most common lesions are those resulting from head and upper extremity trauma (both around 40%). The helmets sold in Europe comply with the rule EN 1078:1996. Most studies confirm the protective effect of the helmet in craniofacial trauma. The pediatric population is especially susceptible of suffering head trauma; the use of the helmet in this age group may offer better protection than in adults. Conclusion. The bicycle helmet is very useful in the prevention of head trauma and its use should be recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-20
JournalPediatria Catalana
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Accident prevention
  • Bicycling
  • Head and brain trauma
  • Head protective devices
  • Legislation and jurisprudence


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