Abstract: Cycling is popular among children, but results in thousands of injuries annually. In recent years, many states and localities have enacted bicycle helmet laws. We examine direct and indirect effects of these laws on injuries. Using hospital-level panel data and triple difference models, we find helmet laws are associated with reductions in bicycle-related head injuries among children. However, laws also are associated with decreases in non-head cycling injuries, as well as increases in head injuries from other wheeled sports. Thus, the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws. [FULL TEXT PDF] [more inside]
Back in New York I strapped on my helmet for a weekend bike ride in Central Park. But I’m not sure I’ll do the same two years from now if I’m commuting to work on a mature Citi Bike system. (SLNYT)
Does Football have a Future?: Football players are anywhere from five to nineteen times more likely than a member of the general population to suffer from a dementia-like illness. This is likely a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (picture), neurodegeneration caused by receiving multiple concussions or even subconcussions that are not detectable around time of impact. CTE has been linked to other mood and behavior changes, including suicidal depression (a great review of the medical literature generally), and has been found in football players as young as 21. And, of course, there is the sometimes debilitating physical disability (either acutely or later in life) from playing a hard-contact sport. The NFL has a long history of adjusting safety standards in bits and pieces (e.g., legalization of the forward pass) to meet public concern over potential injury and disability from playing the sport, though still to some degree publicly denies a connection between football and brain damage. New Yorker writer Ben McGrath talks to football players (past and present), their families (often left behind by untimely death or dementia-twilight), franchise heads, and doctors to explore this history, the crushing legacy of sports injuries, and the question of whether it is possible to reform the rules to minimize the risk of concussion and thus the risk of CTE (if any such risk is acceptable). Would it still be football if such changes were to tone down the violence? (Yes, No [from iconoclast Buzz Bissinger]) And, uncomfortably: is the sport of football unethical for its players, even if entered into on their own volition? (previously in the New Yorker; previously on MetaFilter 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
John Cunningham Climbing Ben Nevis, 1976 (slyt, 8:09)
""Motorcyclist fired me--because Arai and Shoei didn't like a helmet-standards piece I wrote for the New York Times"
Last year long-time motorcycle journalist Dexter Ford wrote this article for the NYT about helmet safety standards, a followup to his 2005 article "Blowing the Lid Off". Leaked emails (pdf) reveal that helmet manufacturers/advertisers were none too pleased, ultimately resulting in Ford being fired. (via hellforleather) [more inside]
Fear of Cycling, an essay in five parts: introduction, constructing fear of cycling, helmet promotion campaigns, new cycling spaces, making cycling strange.
The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945.
PA helmets repealed from heads. At midnight tonight, Pennsylvania will become the sixth state since 1997 to repeal its mandatory motorcycle helmet law. Actually, there are a few qualifications. The guys who put this together are probably keen on PA's state store new Sunday hours, too.