According to the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport of Ontario, in 1995, approximately 30% of Ontarians used bicycles recreationally and less than 1% in competition. Cycling ranked second to motor vehicle incidents with respect to non-fatal transport-related injuries, accounting for 15% of hospitalizations, 21% of emergency room visits, 17% of cases of permanent partial disability and 16% of permanent total disability in 2004. Cycling incidents account for a significant portion of the injury costs arising from transport incidents – $0.44 billion or 12% of total costs. Bicycles, in particular, are identified as one of the top three most frequent products that result in injuries to children and youth between 5 and 19 years.
Bicycle Accidents Statistics (2007-2008)
- 10% (n = 435) of the major trauma cases that were injured while involved in a sports or recreational activity.
- 8% of cases (n = 54) for Ontarians younger than 20 years.
- 48% (n = 70) of cycling incidents in Ontarians younger than 35 years and 1.8% (n=16) among those 20–34 years. 3% (n = 145) of all cases and 2% (n = 12) of all in-hospital deaths. For these cases:
- The mean age was 36 years.
- 80% were male (n=86).
- The mean Injury Severity Score was 24.
- The mean length of stay was 12 days.
- The most common sports and recreational injuries documented (25%, n = 109).
- 80% of injured cyclists were male (n=86).
Current Ontario Legislation for Cycling
Research has demonstrated that helmets are effective in preventing head injury because 75% of cycling-related fatalities involve head injuries. Bicycle helmet legislation in Ontario is contained within the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Ontario Highway Traffic Act:
- Anyone under the age of 18 years is required to wear an approved bicycle helmet when travelling on a public road. The fine for not wearing a helmet is $75.00 ($60 + $5 court cost + $10 victim fine surcharge).
- Cyclists 18 years and older, while not required by law to wear a helmet, are encouraged to do so for their own safety.
- Bicycle helmets approved for use in Ontario contain one or more stickers of the following organizations:
- Canadian Standards Association: CAN/CSA D113.2-M89
- Snell Memorial Foundation: Snell B90, Snell B90S, or Snell N94
- American National Standard Institute: ANSI Z90.4-1984
- American Society For Testing and Materials: ASTMF1447-94
- British Standards Institute: BS6863:1989
- Standards Association of Australia: AS2063.2-1990
- New bicycle helmets in Canada should provide either the CSA or the CPSC standard. The CPSC standard is comparable to the CSA standard. Helmets with British or Australian standards are not widely available in the Canadian market but are safe to use.
- Studies have found a positive effect of bicycle helmet laws for increasing helmet use and reducing head injuries in the target population compared to controls (either jurisdictions without helmet laws or non-target populations).
- Anyone operating an electric bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet at all times.