Racial Differences in the Use of Bicycle Helmets by Children

Each year, more than 3 million people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to bicycle accidents. Some 300 children are killed each year in such incidents.

AdibeObinnaA new study co-authored by Obinna Adibe, an assistant professor of pediatric surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, finds that among young patients who came to the emergency rooms for injuries from bicycle-related accidents, Black and other minority youths were less likely to have been wearing a helmet than White youths.

Researchers examined nearly 7,700 cases involving children under the age of 16. They found that only 22 percent had been wearing bike helmets. Among the injured, Black children were 62 percent less likely than White children to have worn helmets.

The authors point out that helmet giveaways for disadvantaged youths and mandatory helmet laws have successfully reduced bicycle-related injuries in several cities.

Dr. Adibe note that “in states without laws mandating helmet use, parents may see purchasing a helmet as an unnecessary expense. As far as the racial difference, this is partialy socioeconomic, partially institutional bias in overall education of Black children in our country.”

Dr. Adibe received his training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The article, “Inequalities in the Use of Helmets by Race and Payer Status Among Pediatric Cyclists,” was published on the website of the journal Surgery. It may be accessed here.

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    • It is authored by a Black scholar at Duke and it shows a racial disparity that should be of concern to the African American community as a whole.

      • You mean co-authored by a black scholar. In analyzing the racial differences between wearing a helmet and not wearing a helmet. I question the relevance to black scholarship; even though Duke University is a esteemed Ivy League institution. A more relevant study would be the racial incidence of motorcycle accidents among African Americans, minorities, and whites. Another study could be adolescent differences in bicycle training among whites and minorities. These studies not only look at the psychological, but also the health disparities associated with the topic in question.

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