Dr. Karen Liller has been a child and adolescent injury prevention researcher for a quarter of a century. A professor in the USF College of Public Health’s department of community and family health and a member of the Florida Injury Prevention Advisory Group, she worked with a Tampa General program called More Health in the mid-1990s to help evaluate its health education programs. One of those programs promoted bicycle helmets for children.
“I evaluated their program, and I started observational studies of children’s bicycle helmet use in Hillsborough County,” Dr. Liller said. “I was monitoring this because, as part of the Injury Group, I knew this bill had been denied two times before. We were all part of the advocacy efforts with Tallahassee between the state of Florida program, More Health and the college to get this passed.”
A natural proponent of requiring kids to wear helmets when they rode their bikes, Dr. Liller had her interest piqued. From casual observation alone, she surmised that few were. Determined to put scientifically collected numbers to the problem, she and a cadre of her graduate students set about the task of collecting data.