Study: Bikeshare Riders Neglect to Wear Helmets

Study: Bikeshare Riders Neglect to Wear Helmets

A Georgetown University report finds that only a third of bike commuters bother to wear a helmet

June 14, 2012 RSS Feed Print
Bikeshare proponents often argue that one of the benefits of the systems is helping people exercise. But those healthy effects could easily be negated by severe head trauma.
That's because bikeshare users are far less likely than other cyclists to wear helmets when they ride, according to a new study from Georgetown University. For the study, researchers observed riders around Washington, D.C., and classified them as "commuters" or "casual" riders based on the times and locations at which they were observed. The study found that only 33.1 percent of bikeshare commuters wore helmets, compared to nearly 71 percent of commuters who used private bicycles. The divide was even bigger for casual riders: casual bikesharers wore helmets only 15.7 percent of the time, compared to over 68 percent for casual riders on other bikes. Altogether, bikesharers accounted for roughly 11 percent of all bikers observed--so while they may be a smaller population than the private-bike riders, the individual bikeshare users could be at a far greater risk of injury.


  1. For quick inner city trips of low speed, cycling should be safe without a helmet. If you want increased ridership, encouraging a business man/woman to hop on a bike is good thing. If they have to worry about carrying a helmet or messing up their hair, they won't ride. If the streets are designed properly, then no helmets are needed. For open road riding at a faster pace, particularly with hills, helmets are certainly beneficial. But not for city riding.

  2. @Ben - thanks for your comment. I think helmets are a personal choice, and as far as I know, there is no law that says you have to wear one. Now, a 3 or 4 foot passing ordinance for motor vehicles would make a nice addition to our city, don't you think?

  3. I'd be surprised if even 10% of bike share users up here in Mpls use helmets, but they certainly don't seem like they're worried about that. Seriously though, I can't tell you how much Columbus and the other Cs are missing out by not having a bike share in place.


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