Consumer Product Safety Commission
Summary: This is CPSC's 1995 attempt to use the death of Fabio Casartelli in the Tour de France to promote bicycle helmet use.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 1995
Release # 95-148
CONTACT: Kate Premo - (301) 504-0580 Ext. 1187
CPSC URGES ALL BIKE RIDERS TO WEAR HELMETS
FOLLOWING TOUR DE FRANCE DEATH
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Tuesday death of a Tour de France
bicyclist is a tragic reminder that all cyclists should wear
helmets no matter what their age or level of skill, according to
Ann Brown, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"The rider killed Tuesday was an Olympic Champion and an
outstanding professional rider," Brown said. "Yet he was not
wearing a helmet and all his tremendous skill was not
enough to protect him from falling. I want to urge all cyclists
to learn from this tragedy and wear a helmet. It could save your
News reports said that Fabio Casartelli, 24, died when he
fell on a steep curve during the descent from the Col De Portet
d'Aspet in the Pyrenees. Casartelli was travelling nearly
55 miles per hour when his bicycle hit a concrete block and he
was thrown to the pavement.
He was pronounced dead a short while later. Casartelli was a
member of the American team Motorola.
According to Brown, there were an estimated 600,000
bicycle-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency
rooms in 1994. About one-third of those injuries involved
the head or face.
"The simple act of wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of
head injury to bicyclists by 85 percent," Brown said. "That alone
should make anyone -- at any level -- think twice before
getting on a bike without a helmet."
Brown reminded children and parents that a recent survey of
children's attitudes about bicycle safety released by CPSC and
the American Automobile Association revealed that, despite their
awareness of the risks associated with not wearing a helmet, most
of the children surveyed said they did not use a helmet when
riding their bicycles.
"Each year about 300 children are killed and more than
400,000 children go to the hospital emergency room due to bicycle
injuries," Brown said, adding that "Bicycle accidents
are the leading cause of consumer product-related deaths among
five- to fourteen-year-olds.
That statistic is all the more powerful because many of these
deaths could be prevented. Our message is simple: Wear a helmet."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the
public from the 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
via Internet gopher services at cpsc.gov or report product
hazards to firstname.lastname@example.org.
072095,CPSC Urges All Bike Riders to Wear Helmets, Death Tour De
France, Wear Helmets to Protect You
BHSI Note: The official Tour de France physician was quoted in
newspaper accounts as saying that Casartelli would not have been
saved by a helmet. The account offered no explanation for how he could be sure of that. The London Times has another story entirely, with the Swiss undertaker saying a helmet would have saved him. The account offers no explanation for how he could be sure of that.
This page was last revised on: February 3, 2010.