Cyclist safety: Why bicycle helmets are important and whether they should be mandatory in Québec

In Québec, head injuries are a major cause of death and hospital admissions among cyclists.

Helmets are very effective for preventing head injuries in all cyclists, whether falling off a bike or having a collision with a motor vehicle.

Promotion campaigns targeting children under 18 are effective for increasing use of bike helmets, especially when they are community-wide and accompanied by a free helmet distribution program.

In Québec, bike helmet use has increased considerably since 2010, reaching an average of 53% in 2014. In some regions, this proportion was around 70%, which is close to the maximum 80% achievable with a law making it mandatory to wear a bicycle helmet. Seventy-eight percent of children aged 5-9 years were wearing helmets.

Studies on the effect of laws making bicycle helmets mandatory suggest that this type of law can help reduce the number of deaths and hospital admissions among cyclists, but their limitations and sometimes contra…

Presence of Psychoactive Substances in Biological Samples From Drivers Fatally Injured in Québec From 2002 to 2013

Since 2002, the number of road traffic deaths in Québec has been falling steadily, even though the number of motor vehicles on the road – automobiles, in particular – has increased considerably. Nevertheless, the use of alcohol, drugs and medications is frequently cited as a cause of road traffic accidents by public authorities, since these psychoactive substances have the potential to impair driving.

The aim of this study is to present a profile of the psychoactive substances (i.e. alcohol, drugs and medications) examined and detected among motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers aged 16 years and over who were killed in road traffic accidents in Québec from 2002 to 2013.

The main findings are as follows:

  • The presence of psychoactive substances in the drivers of motor vehicles figured among the circumstances of death, but no assessment of a causal link between this presence and road traffic accidents was made.
  • The proportion of fatal…

Cree Health Survey 2003, Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.1, Iiyiyiu Aschii: Injuries and transportation safety

The survey was conducted during the summer of 2003 using a representative sample of residents aged 12 and older from the nine communities in Iiyiyiu Aschii: Chisasibi, Eastmain, Mistissini, Nemaska, Oujé- Bougoumou, Waskaganish, Waswanipi, Wemindji, and Whapmagoostui.

  • During a twelve-month period, 10% of the region's residents sustained an injury which limited their normal activities.
  • Every year, more than 1,000 persons 12 years of age or older sustain at least one injury which limits their activities.
  • Men and young persons constitute the groups reporting the greatest number of injuries.
  • The region of Iiyiyiu Aschii does not differ from the rest of Quebec as to the prevalence of reported injuries.
  • Sprains, wrenches, and fractures are the types of injury most often reported.
  • Falls are the main cause of injuries (42%).
  • 48% of all injuries occur in sports or leisure activities and 25%* occur in the home.

Nunavik Inuit Health Survey 2004 : Transportation Injuries and Safety

Aboriginal people generally have higher traumabased death and hospitalization rates than the rest of the population. Nunavik residents were characterized by much higher death rates and lost potential years of life due to trauma (intentional and non intentional) than Quebecers as a whole during the periods 1991-1993 to 1997-1998. The Inuit of Nunavik also have higher hospitalization rates for trauma than do Quebecers as a whole, with a predominance of falls, off-road vehicle accidents, attempted murders and attempted suicides. This summary presents the results of the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey on transportation injuries and safety; it allows describing the prevalence of injuries among residents living in private households in Nunavik as reported during the 2004 survey.

Injuries reported during the 12 previous months are defined as those that were sufficiently serious to limit the individual’s regular activities. Injuries reported in this survey are relatively infrequent and…

Public Health Advisory on the Effects of Cell Phone Use While Driving, with Recommendations

From a public health perspective, there are still far too many road victims due to collisions that are mostly preventable: 704 deaths and 6,397 serious injuries, according to the SAAQ (2005). Their road safety statistics covering the five years from 2000 to 2005 show a general upward trend in Quebec. Indeed, the number of victims killed rose by more than 9% between 2004 and 2005, and serious injuries rose by 14.2%. In the hospital network, this represents an average of more than 4,000 hospitalizations per year (INSPQ, 2006).

The significant gains achieved over the last twenty years are mainly due to programs aimed at reducing the incidence of driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI), entrenching the use of seatbelts, and encouraging the construction of safer vehicles. However, several factors that have not been approached in the same way are currently reducing road safety in Quebec. Generalized disregard for the legal speed limit on the entire road network as well as driving…

Road Speed: Health Impact and Counteractive Measures

Speeding is a widespread phenomenon and is not confined solely to a small group of delinquent drivers: between 50% and 80% of Québec drivers exceed the legal speed limit. The problem is equally rampant in cities, on rural roads and highways. Excessive speed does not refer solely to driving well over the posted speed limit or very fast, which are rather marginal phenomena. The problem's source is, by and large, from less extreme but more frequent excess speed.

Despite more frequent issuing of speeding tickets in Québec, drivers perceive the risk of being arrested as low. Little systematic, sustained intervention has been implemented to date to counteract speeding, as has been the case to counteract drinking and driving, a comparable problem.

Health issues

The international literature has thoroughly demonstrated the link between the speed of motor vehicles and the risk of collision and injury. Indeed, speed is a contributory factor in all cases of mortal…