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Users of bike-sharing programs may be less likely to wear helmets

June 27, 2012

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Washington – Bicyclists using bike-sharing programs may be less likely to use a helmet than bicyclists who use private bicycles, according to a new study from Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies.

As part of the study, researchers observed 2,297 bicyclists and compared helmet usage among those with personal bikes to people who use a bike-sharing program in Washington, D.C. According to the findings:

  • Among bicyclists traveling to and from work, 70.8 percent of private bicycle riders wore helmets, compared with 33.1 percent of bike-sharing users.
  • Among casual bicyclists, 68.4 percent of private bicycle riders wore helmets, compared with 15.7 percent of bike-sharing participants.

Citing the safety benefits of helmets, researchers suggested that administrators of bike-sharing programs engage in helmet-promotion activities.

The study was published online June 14 in the American Journal of Public Health.

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