"Although the desire to take heightened risk probably comes before the decision to wear a helmet, it is likely that the act of wearing a helmet reinforces the acceptability of taking risks, leading to the taking of even greater risks. In professional sport, people may use helmets, their skill in bike handling and the protection from immediately available specialist medical care in order to facilitate the highest levels of risk taking.
Sports cyclists wear helmets in an attempt to limit the consequences of the risks they want to take. However, the much greater representation of these cyclists in the hospital statistics suggests that their attempts to limit risks are inadequate for the risks involved. Indeed, putting their faith in 'technical fixes' such as cycle helmets may encourage many people to take greater risks than they should. In cycle sport internationally, the number of deaths in races has increased markedly since helmet use became mandatory."
In jurisdictions where cycling is safe, a helmet law is likely to have a large unintended negative health impact. In jurisdictions where cycling is relatively unsafe, helmets will do little to make it safer and a helmet law, under relatively extreme assumptions, may make a small positive contribution to net societal health. The model serves to focus the mandatory bicycle helmet law debate on overall health.
So helmets stop people from riding? You must be pining for that imaginary golden era of bicycling when cyclists dominated the streets before there were helmet laws.
The objective of this study was to determine whether the bicycle safety helmet legislation in California, enacted in 1994, was associated with statistically significant reductions in head injuries among bicyclists aged 17 years and under who were subjected to the law. The study used 44,069 patient discharge cases from all public hospitals in California, from 1991 through 2000, and a case-control design to make direct comparisons between those subjected to the law (Youth) and those who were not (Adult) across the pre- and post-legislation periods. An aggregate data analysis approach and a pooled disaggregate data fitting technique using multinomial logit models were applied. The legislation was found to be associated with a reduction of 18.2% (99% confidence interval: 11.5–24.3%) in the proportion of traumatic brain injuries (Head-TBI) among Youth bicyclists
Results Helmets were reportedly worn by [...] Following the implementation of legislation in PEI and Alberta, recreational and commuting bicycle use remained unchanged among youth and adults.
Conclusions Canadian youth and adults are significantly more likely to wear helmets as the comprehensiveness of helmet legislation increases. Helmet legislation is not associated with changes in ridership.
WTF? Do you walk 40mph? Jiminy Fucking Christmas.
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