Why women do not use the helmet when riding a bicycle

Pedro Valero-Mora, David Shinar, Ruben Ledesma, Narelle Haworth, M. Van Strijp-Houtenbos, A. Schramm, G. De Bruyne, J. Chliaoutaki, J. Dias, O. E. Ferraro, A. Fyhri, A. Hursa Sajatovic, K. Kuklane, A. Morandi, M. Muser, D. Otte, M. Papadakaki, J. Sanmartin, D. Dulf, M. SapliogluG. Tzamalouka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Women seem to use the helmet when riding a bicycle less frequently than men. Two possible explanations for this behavior are that 1) it is less appalling to them because of lack of comfort or other reasons, or 2) they use bicycles in a more cautious way than men so they feel that they do not need the helmet as much. The present paper explores these two explanations in 5, 691 cyclists that responded to an online survey conducted in 17 countries as part of an EU COST project. Answers to questions related to the two aforementioned explanations were analyzed graphically and three questions that showed the most conspicuous differences between males and females were identified. These were: 'Helmets are a problem because they disturb your hair', 'I am a fast rider', and 'I am a skilled rider'. The responses to these three questions plus their interactions with the gender of the respondent were used as predictors of the proportion of helmet wear. The results showed that: 1) the three questions predicted the use of the helmet, 2) the interaction between gender and hair disturbance was not significant, and 3) the interactions between gender and being a fast cyclist and being a skilled rider were both statistically significant showing that women that regard themselves as slow riders or skillful riders use relatively less the helmet than men in similar conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication62nd Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2018
PublisherHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781510889538
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event62nd Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2018 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 1 Oct 20185 Oct 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
ISSN (Print)1071-1813


Conference62nd Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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