Quebec is way behind in not requiring bike helmets. Studies have proven the benefits in reducing risk of traumatic brain injury for decades. In fact, helmets can reduce TBI by as much as 85%. So why has Quebec lagged behind the rest of Canada? And why is Quebec’s largest bike lobby against such a move?

Cote Saint-Luc was the first city in Canada to bring in a bylaw nearly 30 years ago! Indeed, this was one of my major planks when I first ran for council and I take immense pride in this bylaw, adopted in 1992.

You can read all about the background on bike laws in Canada and the Cote Saint-Luc initiative by searching in this blog.

Do you wear a bike helmet?

Here’s the MUHC press release:

“All cyclists, regardless of their age, face the risk of head injury, traumatic brain injury or concussion. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injuries by up to 85 percent, and the risk of fatality by up to 44 percent” 
Michel Abouassaly, MUHC Coordinator of the Department of Adult Neurotraumatology.

Mandatory helmets for cyclists must apply to children and adults

MONTREAL, September 19, 2019 – The team of the Department of Adult Neurotraumatology at the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) supports their colleague at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Dr. Hussein Wissanji, who in an open letter, demanded, among other things, that helmets be worn for cyclists aged 18 years and under to reduce deaths and health complications associated with traumatic brain injury.  He also called for the need to promote safe riding habits and road developments that are adapted for cyclists.

Furthermore, the Adult Neurotraumatology team strongly recommends that helmet protection apply to cyclists of all ages.

Given the current proliferation of alternative modes of transport these days (bike-sharing, scooters, electric bicycles), the wearing of bicycle helmets for all is necessary in order to ensure the health and the safety of users.

“All cyclists, regardless of their age, face the risk of head injury, traumatic brain injury or concussion. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injuries by up to 85 percent, and the risk of fatality by up to 44 percent,” says Michel Abouassaly, MUHC Coordinator of the Department of Adult Neurotraumatology.

Dr. Jehane Dagher, physiatrist at the Traumatic Brain Injury Centre at the Montreal General Hospital, conducted a study from 2011 to 2016 among 144 patients admitted to the Emergency Department, for head injuries related to cycling. “During this time we noticed up to six times longer ICU stays for patients who did not wear a helmet as well as a higher rate of mortality for these patients.”

Dr. Judith Marcoux, neurosurgeon and Medical Director of Neurotrauma at the MUHC, added, “Four out of five head injuries could be avoided if each cyclist wore a helmet, regardless of their age. It is imperative that adults lead the way by wearing a helmet.”

About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is one of the world’s foremost academic health facilities. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of its founding hospitals, the MUHC provides exceptional multidisciplinary patient-centric care. Affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University and at the helm of the RUIS-McGill, the MUHC continues to shape the course of adult and pediatric medicine by attracting clinical and research expertise from around the world, assessing the latest in medical technology, and training the next generation of medical professionals. In collaboration with our network partners, we are building a better future for our patients and their families; for our employees, professionals, researchers and students; for our community and above all, for life. www.muhc.ca