CPSC Helmet Usage Survey
Summary: This is the press release announcing the results of a 1999 survey on bicycle helmet usage that CPSC undertook.
For Immediate Release Contact: Russ Rader
April 21, 1999 (301) 504-0580 Ext. 1166
Release # 99-099
CPSC, McDonald's Release National Survey on Bike Helmet Usage:
Helmet Use on the Rise, But Half of All Riders Still Not Wearing Helmets
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As part of a national bike helmet safety campaign,
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in partnership with
the McDonald's Corp., today released survey results showing an increase
in bike helmet usage from 18 percent in 1991 to 50 percent in 1998. The
survey also shows that half of all bicyclists never or infrequently wear
helmets when they ride, putting them at increased risk of serious head
"Bike-related crashes kill 900 people every year and send about 567,000
to hospital emergency rooms with injuries," said CPSC Chairman Ann
Brown. "Wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85
percent. It can save your life."
In 1991, CPSC conducted the first national survey of bike helmet usage.
At that time, there were an estimated 66.9 million riders. Today, there
are an estimated 80.6 million riders, 43 percent of whom never wear
helmets and 7 percent of whom wear helmets less than half the time.
CPSC's bike helmet safety standard, state helmet laws, public education
campaigns and better-fitting and better-looking helmets have all
contributed to a climate that encourages helmet use. According to the
new study, of bikers who now report wearing a helmet, 98 percent said
they wore a helmet for safety reasons, 70 percent said they wore a
helmet because a parent or spouse insisted on it and 44 percent said
they did so because a law required it.
Bikers reported several reasons for not wearing a helmet, including
riding only a short distance, forgetting to wear a helmet, feeling the
helmet was uncomfortable or simply not having gotten around to buying a
The survey reports 69 percent of children under 16 wear a helmet on a
regular basis while riding a bike, according to parents. The survey also
found 38 percent of adult bike riders regularly wear their helmets.
To reach more riders, particularly parents and their children who
still are not wearing bike helmets, CPSC and McDonald's are launching a
national bike helmet safety campaign, "Get the Helmet Habit." Educating
people on the risks associated with riding bikes, getting all bikers to
wear a helmet every time they ride and educating them on the correct way
to wear a helmet are the campaign's main goals.
"Safety will always be a top priority at McDonald's, which is why
we're delighted to join CPSC in this national campaign," said McDonald's
CEO Jack Greenberg. "Kids are very special to McDonald's, and we are
using the power of our Happy Meals to get important safety information
into the hands of millions of families."
The "Get the Helmet Habit" campaign kicks off with a press
conference today in Washington, D.C., the release of the new survey
results on bike helmet usage, and the broadcast of a video news release
available to television stations across the country. Also today, a bike
helmet safety website is being launched at www.bikehelmet.org. For one
week, beginning April 23, every McDonald's Happy Meal sold will have a
booklet attached, putting bike helmet safety information in the hands of
more than 13 million people. Participating restaurants also will give
away bike helmets at local events.
In May, a public service announcement, featuring Melissa Joan Hart
of ABC's "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," will air on radio and television.
Teachers of grades K through 3 will receive an in-school education
program on bike helmet safety, created in collaboration with Scholastic
Inc. Additionally, posters will be sent to 35,000 pediatricians for
display in their waiting rooms.
For more information on bike helmet safety, visit the "Get the
Helmet Habit" website at www.bikehelmet.org or call CPSC's hotline at
(800) 638-2772. Copies of the survey are available by calling the CPSC
contact on this release.
A video news release about the survey and new national program will be
broadcast at the following times and coordinates. The video includes
soundbites from the press conference and
Satellite Coordinates (C-Band)
Wed., Apr. 21 Wed, Apr. 21 Thur., Apr. 22
3 p.m.- 3:15 p.m. ET 8 p.m. - 8:15 p.m ET 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m ET
GE 2, Trans. 6 Telstar 4, Trans. 20 Telstar 4, Trans. 20
Downlink 3820 mhz Downlink 4100 mhz Downlink 4100 mhz
Audio 6.2 & 6.8 Audio 6.2 & 6.8 Audio 6.2 & 6.8
The feed is free for your unrestricted use. For technical questions
about the satellite feed, contact Chris Curl at (800) 920-6397.
This page was revised and reformatted on: April 28, 2015.