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Effectiveness: 2 Star Cost: $$$
Use: Medium
Time: Medium

The purpose of bicycle helmet promotions is to increase the use of helmets and thereby decrease the number of severe and fatal brain injuries to bicyclists involved in crashes. This countermeasure involves conducting single events or extended campaigns to promote helmet distribution and use among children and adults. Promotions can target  barriers to helmet use, including absence of a helmet, child and families’ lack of understanding of the importance of helmet use, and negative attitudes or beliefs about helmet use. Programs that provide helmets can include sponsoring organizations and often involve law enforcement and schools to deliver helmets, fit the helmets, and teach proper fitting and use. Bicycle helmet promotions must include teaching adults and children the importance of and how to properly fit the bicycle helmet. Many schools and community centers are able to assist in identifying those families that due to their socioeconomic status or eligibility for lunches, are suitable for free helmets. Other times, helmets can be purchased in bulk and distributed at a lower cost.

Effectiveness Concerns: This countermeasure has been examined in several research studies. There is some evidence that certain approaches may lead to increased helmet use and more favorable attitudes towards helmet use, especially among children. However, more research is needed to conclude that the countermeasure is effective when broadly targeted towards all cyclists.

Further information about the known research, potential effectiveness, costs, use, and time to implement is available in Appendix A9, Section 3.2.