FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 1999
Release # 99-098
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1192
CPSC, McDonalds 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 injuries.
"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.
CPSCs 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 helmet.
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 McDonalds 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
campaigns main goals.
"Safety will always be a top priority at
McDonalds, which is why were delighted to join CPSC in this national
campaign," said McDonalds CEO Jack Greenberg. "Kids are very special to
McDonalds, 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. For one week, beginning April 23, every
McDonalds 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 ABCs "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, call
CPSCs hotline at (800) 638-2772. Copies of the survey are
also available by calling the CPSC contact on this release.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
protects the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of
consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a
product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's
hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a press
release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine
and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information or
report product hazards to email@example.com.