Commercial bicyclists represent a vulnerable population who typically do not have sufficient resources to obtain health insurance or safety equipment. A recent study of commercial bicyclists describes them as low-wage earners who are likely to be from a minority community and to speak English as a second language. Aside from the morbidity and mortality associated with bicycle-related head trauma, these incidents represent a significant cost to cities who have people delivering goods and services in urban environments such as the city of Philadelphia. As the city of Philadelphia moves toward the implementation of Vision Zero, it joins other cities across the country in a multidisciplinary public health effort to eliminate traffic deaths. Although they have not been the subject of a great deal of research as a cohort, commercial bicyclists represent a specific component of street traffic that must be addressed in a holistic campaign such as Vision Zero. This policy paper will demonstrate that current data indicates that head injuries are the bicycle-related injuries that are most likely to result in a fatality and that a helmet is single most important piece of personal protective equipment in preventing such injuries. As a typically low-wage population, commercial bicyclists may lack either the resources or the education necessary for the purchase or proper use of helmets. A program that works toward providing these workers with helmets could be an initial step towards safeguarding them from the traffic-related deaths that Philadelphia’s Vision Zero initiative envisions eliminating. In reviewing three policy options for Philadelphia, a pilot program is proposed that creates a private partnership between a community benefit organization and a local trauma center to gain information to help improve safety and decrease healthcare spending by preventing head injuries in a largely uninsured or underinsured population in the city of Philadelphia.
Husted, Evan E., "Preventing Serious Injury of Commercial Bicyclists in Philadelphia: A Policy Analysis for a Helmet Provision Program for Commercial Bicyclists in Philadelphia" (2015). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 178.