A local bicycle helmet ‘law’ in a Swedish municipality: effects on children's attitudes, beliefs and self-reported behavior
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
The municipality of Motala, Sweden, has a non-compulsary bicycle helmet "law" that is supported by promotional activities. The applies to children aged 6-12 but is intended to increase helmet use by all cyclists.
This study evaluate the effects of the law on children's attitudes, beliefs, and self-reported behavior. Questionnaires were sent to a random sample of 6-12-year-old children in the intervention area (n = 1,277) and the control area (n = 2,198), one to two months before and two years after the intervention. The avarage response rates were 76.5% in the intervention area and 79.3% in the control area. Data were analyzed by t-tests and ANOVA.
The study showed only one positive long-term effect on children's self-reported behavior or on factors supposed to precede their behavior. Children in the intervention area indicated a stronger intention to ride a bicycle if a national compulsory helmet law in introduced. There were no other changes in Motala that differed from changes in the control area. However, the overall responses, irrespective of test occasions, were often more positive or "better" among children in the intervention area that in the control area. This is probably due to helmet promotion programs conducted before the pre-test, which makes it more difficult to find effects of the intervention. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that the non-compulsory local helmet "law" in Motala is not a realistic alternative to a mandatory national helmet law for Sweden.
bicycle helmets, legislation, safety promotion
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-85041DiVA: diva2:563808