Windsor

U Windsor grad student promotes bike helmet safety

When students learned what different parts of the brain did in connection to bike safety, they were more likely to wear a helmet, compared to students who just watched a traditional bike safety presentation.

'Project: Brain Bucket' teaches kids to wear helmets by educating them about different brain processes

Students painted helmets as part of Project: Brain Bucket (Daniella Mlinarevic)

When students learned what different parts of the brain did in connection to bike safety, they were more likely to wear a helmet, compared to students who just watched a traditional bike safety presentation.

That's what University of Windsor master's graduate Daniella Mlinarevic discovered during Project: Brain Bucket

Mlinarevic took bike helmets into high school classrooms and surveyed students before and after a presentation on brain processes. Students who learned what different parts of the brain were used for were more likely to wear a helmet. 

The painted Project: Brain Bucket helmets will be donated to education groups and bike shops. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"We were testing for health and safety perceptions," said Mlinarevic. "There were positive differences between those tests."

To be sure, she also incorporate a control group who received just a standard bike safety presentation. Those students weren't any more likely to wear a helmet afterwards.

Mlinarevic had students decorate helmets with paint. The group who learned about brain processes were asked to paint what the brain did on different parts of the helmet — for example, painting eyes on the back of the helmet where the brain controls vision. 

Daniella Mlinarevic found students were more likely to wear a helmet once they knew what brain processes they were protecting. (Daniella Mlinarevic)

"When kids think about wearing a helmet they think about protecting their head," said professor Lori Buchanan, Mlinarevic's advisor. "Daniella gave them reasons to think about protecting the function that the brain is doing. It's more important to think about hearing or seeing something rather than thinking about getting a bump on the head."

Although experts say nothing should be added to the exterior of a helmet, Mlinarevic said the decorated helmets are better than nothing.

Students who identified what parts of the brain were for what brain processes were more likely to wear a helmet. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"These helmets are going to people who won't have a helmet at all, so we figured it was better to give them something rather than nothing at all."

The first round of Project: Brain Bucket made about 150 helmets, which Mlinarevic says are going to bike shops and organizations who promote bike safety and brain health.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now