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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

Bike Safety Campaigns:
For Starters



If you are launching a bike safety campaign, here is a basic approach.

For starters, a helmet campaign is good, but a more comprehensive safety campaign is better. Teaching a rider to use a helmet helps when they crash, but teaching them how to avoid crashes first and to wear a helmet for the times when they still crash can prevent more injuries. So if you have the resources our ideal campaign would include:

1. Basic bicycle safety education for riders

Start with elementary school kids, who are still reachable at young ages. Emphasize fashion, since kids do things in herds or don't do them at all. Use sports celebrities (people from local high school teams do fine, you don't need pros), police motorcycle officers and fire fighters--all interesting to kids, and all helmet wearers. Send messages to the parents through the kids, and provide parents with info on what parental instruction a kid needs for bicycling.

2. Helmet promotion

Well-covered on these pages. If you have not seen our program resources list, it's a good place to start. We would include cheap helmets, education and eventually a law after people get used to the idea that helmets are really necessary for safe cycling.

3. Driver education

What can you do locally to make drivers more aware of cyclists, and pre-conditioning them to react properly to a cyclist on the roadway.

4. Facilities improvement

What can your local Public Works department do to make the streets and trails in your city safer for bicycles? There is guidance available for the traffic engineers in AASHTO's bicycle facility handbook. And is your town ready to talk about Traffic Calming? If so, there is a wealth of info available on how to design facilities that encourage cars to proceed at reasonable speeds so that pedestrians and bicycles are not threatened.

That's the whole ball of wax, covering a comprehensive bicycle safety program. You can make a difference in your city. If the scope sounds intimidating, start with some piece of it and see if you can pull other people in to help. Having an overview will help you see things that can be done along the way.


This page was last revised on: August 26, 2006.

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