IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association requests the Government of Alberta (GOA) amend the Vehicle Equipment Regulation to include mandatory helmet requirements for riders younger than 18 years of age while skateboarding, in-line skating and using a scooter.
WHEREAS head injuries are the number one cause of serious injury and death to youth participating in wheeled activities such as skateboarding, in-line skating, using a scooter and cycling;1
WHEREAS on average the human skull is less than one centimeter thick and can be shattered by an impact of only 7 to 10 km/h; 2
WHEREAS wearing a helmet while participating in wheeled activities can reduce the participant’s risk of head injury by at least 45 percent; 3 and
WHEREAS Section 112 of the Vehicle Equipment Regulation (VER) only requires approved helmets be worn by children/youth riding bicycles.
The Government of Alberta enacted mandatory helmet legislation for bicycle riders under the age of 18 on May 1, 2002. Only four years later, helmet use in Alberta increased from 75% to 92% among children younger than 13 years of age and from 30% to 63% among youth aged 13 to 17. 4
The existing helmet legislation remains effective but additional wheeled activities such as skateboarding, in-line skating and riding a scooter have grown in popularity among youth and are often used interchangeably. These activities represent a similar degree of risk as bicycles, yet they remain omitted in the current helmet legislation.
Wheeled activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Establishing mandatory helmet rules for all wheeled activities consistently across municipalities and leveraging Provincial resources towards education campaigns is recommended to both increase helmet use and reduce the risk of head injuries for children and youth.
1(n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine, based in Baltimore, Maryland. For Parents: Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboard, and Scooter Safety | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Retrieved August 1, 2017, from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/non-traumatic_em...
2(2012, June 20). Montreal Children's Hospital. Calling for a law making bicycle helmets mandatory for children under the age of 18 | Montreal Children's Hospital. Retrieved August 1, 2017, from http://www.thechildren.com/news-and-events/latest-news/calling-law-makin...
3(2016, March). Safe Kids Worldwide. Bicycle, Skate and Skateboard Safety Fact Sheet (PDF) | Safe Kids Worldwide. Retrieved August 1, 2017, from http://www.safekids.org/fact-sheet/bicycle-skate-and-skateboard-safety-f...
4 Karkhaneh M, Rowe BH, Saunders LD, Voaklander DC, Hagel BE. Bicycle helmet use four years after the introduction of helmet legislation in Alberta, Canada. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2011:43(3):788-96
- AUMA has a policy supporting mandatory helmet requirements for riders who use ATVs, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and other off-highway vehicles on public land, but it does currently cover the ridership targeted in this resolution.