Thursday, January 13, 2005

Do cycle helmets work?

"Examination of cyclist casualty data for Great Britain, Greater London and Cambridge shows no evidence of any reduction in serious injuries despite a large increase in helmet wearing by cyclists since the mid 1980s.

If cycle helmets are effective in reducing head injury, it seems reasonable to expect that the reductions in injuries would be reflected in the general casualty statistics, particularly in places where helmet use has become significant. There is no indication that this is the case.

With more than 2 out of 5 cyclists now wearing helmets in London, it is difficult to see what greater use of helmets would be necessary to achieve noticeable casualty reductions, particularly if the more optimistic predictions for the effectiveness of helmets are correct.

The results nonetheless are consistent with other research in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, none of which has found real-world evidence of any significant reduction in cyclist head injuries in large population samples.

It would seem prudent to re-assess the claims being made for the role of cycle helmets in road injury reduction, to ensure that the information being given to the general public is not misleading."

Trends in cycling casualties in Britain with increasing helmet use


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