The helmet wearing rate among cyclists killed or injured in accidents between April and December 2023 remained low at 14.7%, the National Police Agency (NPA) said Monday, one year after all cyclists were obliged to make an effort to wear helmets under a revised law.

Previously, only children under the age of 13 and their parents riding with them were required to make an effort to wear a helmet, but the scope of age groups has been expanded to all cyclists with the revision of the road transportation law on April 1 last year. No penalty is given for not wearing a helmet, as the law only requires effort on the part of the cyclist.

According to the NPA, the helmet use rate among casualties in bicycle accidents that occurred nationwide from January to December last year was 13.5%, up 3.6 percentage points from the previous year. The rate was around 9% between January and March, and rose to 13.5% after the April revision. However, the percentage remained almost unchanged from May onward.

By age group, those age 9 and under had the highest rate at 37.9%, up 10.0 points from the previous year. This was followed by teenagers at 19.1%, up 3.3 points from the previous year. This is believed to be due to a high rate of helmet wearing among junior high school students who cycle to school.

The lowest rate was 7.2% for those in their 20s. The percentage of those in their 70s and older was below 10%.

According to the NPA, the rate of fatality from head injuries among nonhelmet wearers was approximately 2.4 times that of those who wear head protection.

An official focused on the matter stated, "We want to keep reminding the public about how important it is to stay safe and make sure to always wear a helmet.”

Translated by The Japan Times