Healthy Communities

Injury Prevention - Helmets

Helmets are proven to protect people from brain injury. Research indicates that using helmets for cycling, skateboarding and in-line skating can reduce the chance of brain injury by up to 85 percent. A single brain injury can cost taxpayers $6 million to $8 million, and leaves long term, life changing effects on individuals, their families, and communities. Even a minor concussion can affect a person's ability to learn or remember.

Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act requiring helmet use for bicycling, skateboarding and in-line skating became law on January 12, 2007. The amendments require helmet use for all wheeled activities, whether on public or private lands and roads, skate parks or playgrounds.

Full regulations regarding helmets can be found in section 170A & 170B of the Province of Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act. The Motor Vehicle Act can be accessed online at: Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act

How to wear a helmet

A proper bike helmet should:

  • Fit comfortably on top of your head and sit low on your forehead, just above the eyebrow.
  • Not move if you shake your head.
  • Have an outer shell, inner protective liner, chin straps that hold the helmet firmly in place, and adjustable sizing pads.
  • Meet CPSC, CSA or Snell standards.

For more helmet information for all types of outdoor activity, see Child Safety Link - Helmet Info or visit ThinkFirst

Key Activities

As part of our strategy to increase the use of helmets in Nova Scotia, the Department of Health and Wellness is partnering with the neurosurgery division at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Centre. Through this partnership a policy paper regarding helmet safety has been compiled. The purpose of the policy paper is to review activities that have risks of head injury, determine in wearing helmets will reduce the incidence of head injury, determine ways to increase the use of helmets and to provide recommendations to Nova Scotia decision makers.

The Department of Health and Wellness is involved in a peer education project at the Halifax Commons Skatepark in partnership with Dalhousie University and PRO Skates. The focus of the project is education surrounding the permanence of brain and spinal cord injury and the importance of wearing a helmet and safety gear while skateboarding.