Bicycle helmets should not be compulsory, say doctors

נשלח 29 ביולי 2011, 5:44 על ידי Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 29 ביולי 2011, 5:55 ]

Wearing bicycle helmets should not be mandatory, doctors have said in a surprise finding published in the British Medical Journal.

29 Jul 2011, by Raf Sanchez

If people are forced to wear helmets they may give up cycling altogether and lose the health benefits of regular exercise, they warned.

More than two thirds of the respected journal's readers said they opposed compulsory helmets for adults.

One respondent in the poll of 1,427 people said: "It gives out the message that cycling is dangerous, which it is not. The evidence that cycling helmets work to reduce injury is not conclusive.

"What has, however, been shown is that laws that make wearing helmets compulsory decrease cycling activity. Cycling is a healthy activity and cyclists live longer on average than non-cyclists."

Another added: "Since nowhere with a helmet law can show any reduction in risk to cyclists, only a reduction in cyclists, why would anyone want to bring in a law for something which is clearly not effective at reducing the risk to cyclists?"

Australia made it illegal to not wear a helmet in 1991 but Sydney University researchers have called for the law to be repealed, arguing that the fall in head injuries was down to road safety improvements, rather than the new law.

They also cited figures from Western Australia which suggested that the legislation led to a 30 per cent drop in cycling rates.

Chris Rissell, one of the researchers, said: "I'd recommend a trial repeal in one city for two years to allow researchers to make observations and see if there's an increase in head injuries, and on the basis of that you could come to some informed policy decision."


Doctors say bicycle helmets should not be compulsory

by Jonatha Harker, 29/7/2011

British Medical Journal survey reveals lack of support for laws on helmets

Doctors have warned that the health benefits of regular cycling may be lost if wearing a helmet whilst cycling is made mandatory, as reported in the Daily Telegraph.

In a poll by the respected British Medical Journal of 1,427 its readers, over two thirds said they opposed laws to make helmets compulsory for adult cyclists.

On of the respondents said: "It [making helmets mandatory for adult cyclists] gives out the message that cycling is dangerous, which it is not. The evidence that cycling helmets work to reduce injury is not conclusive.

"What has, however, been shown is that laws that make wearing helmets compulsory decrease cycling activity. Cycling is a healthy activity and cyclists live longer on average than non-cyclists."

The article also noted that Australia’s move to make helmet wearing a legal requirement of adult cycling in 1991 led to a 30 per cent reduction in cycling rates. Calls for a trial repeal of the law are being made in the territory.

The long-running debate over whether helmets should be mandatory or not was thrown back into the spotlight earlier this month when a Liberal Democrat MP proposed a helmet compulsion bill for child cyclists.

Source: bikebiz.com


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