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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 765.
Published online Sep 11, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-765
PMCID: PMC3490930
Personal and trip characteristics associated with safety equipment use by injured adult bicyclists: a cross-sectional study
Kay Teschke,corresponding author1 Jeff R Brubacher,2 Steven M Friedman,3 Peter A Cripton,4 M Anne Harris,5 Conor CO Reynolds,6 Hui Shen,1 Melody Monro,1 Garth Hunte,2 Mary Chipman,7 Michael D Cusimano,7 Nancy Smith Lea,8 Shelina Babul,9 and Meghan Winters10
1School of Population and Public Health, 2206 East Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2Department of Emergency Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3Emergency Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada
4Department of Mechanical Engineering, ICORD and the Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
5Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
6Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
7School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
8Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, Toronto, ON, Canada
9British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit, Vancouver, BC, Canada
10Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Kay Teschke: kay.teschke/at/ubc.ca; Jeff R Brubacher: jbrubacher/at/shaw.ca; Steven M Friedman: emergdoc/at/gmail.com; Peter A Cripton: cripton/at/mech.ubc.ca; M Anne Harris: harris.m.anne/at/gmail.com; Conor CO Reynolds: conor.reynolds/at/gmail.com; Hui Shen: hui.shen/at/ubc.ca; Melody Monro: melody.monro/at/ubc.ca; Garth Hunte: garth.hunte/at/ubc.ca; Mary Chipman: mary.chipman/at/utoronto.ca; Michael D Cusimano: cusimanom/at/smh.toronto.on.ca; Nancy Smith Lea: nsmithlea/at/kf.oise.utoronto.ca; Shelina Babul: sbabul/at/cw.bc.ca; Meghan Winters: mwinters/at/sfu.ca
Received June 6, 2012; Accepted September 3, 2012.
Abstract
Background
The aim of this study was to estimate use of helmets, lights, and visible clothing among cyclists and to examine trip and personal characteristics associated with their use.
Methods
Using data from a study of transportation infrastructure and injuries to 690 adult cyclists in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, we examined the proportion who used bike lights, conspicuous clothing on the torso, and helmets on their injury trip. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine associations between personal and trip characteristics and each type of safety equipment.
Results
Bike lights were the least frequently used (20% of all trips) although they were used on 77% of trips at night. Conspicuous clothing (white, yellow, orange, red) was worn on 33% of trips. Helmets were used on 69% of trips, 76% in Vancouver where adult helmet use is required by law and 59% in Toronto where it is not. Factors positively associated with bike light use included night, dawn and dusk trips, poor weather conditions, weekday trips, male sex, and helmet use. Factors positively associated with conspicuous clothing use included good weather conditions, older age, and more frequent cycling. Factors positively associated with helmet use included bike light use, longer trip distances, hybrid bike type, not using alcohol in the 6 hours prior to the trip, female sex, older age, higher income, and higher education.
Conclusions
In two of Canada’s largest cities, helmets were the most widely used safety equipment. Measures to increase use of visibility aids on both daytime and night-time cycling trips may help prevent crashes.
Keywords: Active transport, Bicycle safety, Visibility, Bicycle helmet
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