Helmet formative project
This formative evaluation consisted of two stages: In stage one an extensive review of the literature was conducted to identify important issues related to bicycle helmet wearing by 10 to 12 year olds and consultation with key stakeholders in bicycle road safety and education. Stage two utilised qualitative research methods (focus groups) to explore the target groups’ practices and perceptions of cycle helmet wearing, peer pressure to not wear helmets and feasibility of using peer leaders to encourage bicycle helmet use and other safer cycling behaviours. These findings were used to inform the development of school-based bicycle helmet education strategies targeting children aged 10 to 12 years and their families.
The Helmet Project produced a literature review, consultation with stakeholders (meetings with experts in education and road safety and 20 focus groups with children aged 10 to 13 years) and a school-based intervention concerning children wearing bicycle helmets correctly. A three-year NHMRC grant was awarded to the WACHPR to conduct a randomised control trial to test the effectiveness of an intervention based on the findings of the Helmet Project. A total of 168 students participated in the 20 focus groups. Students discussed reasons for and against wearing a helmet when riding a bike, ways to cope with pressure to not wear a helmet and way to effectively use similar age peer leader to encourage correct bicycle helmet use.
Benefits of the program
- Provision of information through the findings of focus groups with students from schools within the targeted age groups;
- Establishment of criteria by which to assess school-based bicycle safety intervention programs;
- By including students and teachers in the initial stages of this research project, findings will contribute to a better understanding of the reasons why children do/do not wear helmets when riding bicycles; and
- Findings of the project will provide positive steps that may be taken to encourage students to wear helmets while riding their bicycles.
Future benefits include:
- Improving schools’ and the community’s knowledge of bicycle safety and the importance of wearing a helmet correctly;
- Provision of a means of empowering teachers, parents and students to play an active role in the prevention and reduction of injury related to bicycle crashes;
- Provide a better understanding of effective means to influence the health behaviours of children at a particularly vulnerable age; and
- Ultimately, a reduction in morbidity and mortality related to head injury through bicycle crashes.
Main Roads Western Australia
Western Australian Office of Road Safety