U.S. bicycle helmet laws

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Monday, August 15, 2005
By Yokota Fritz

The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) has recently web-published a study on mandatory bicycle helmet laws in six jurisdictions in the United States. The study examines the introduction, passage, and implementation of helmet laws with a focus on enforcement issues; factors in the passage and implementation of helmet laws; whether or not the effectiveness of these helmets laws was being measured; and factors that influenced whether or not these helmet laws were evaluated.

Some of the points I found interesting:
Because cycling is no more likely to result in head injury than riding in an automobile, mandatory helmet use for cyclists is ridiculous. The experience in Australia with their mandatory bike helmet law has been disasterous for cycling, with mandatory bicycle helmet use resulting in increased hospital admissions in spite of the reduced popularity of cycling, and damage to overall public health.

If you are fighting mandatory bicycle helmet legislation in your area, I urge you to read Avery Burdett's Helmet FAQ.

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Although enforcement is difficult and the police do have better things to do. Helmets are very affodable now and having several friends survive crashes because of a helmt, I can't see why people are opposed to helmet. Free choice, yes. It is there choice.
People who are arguing against helmet laws are not saying people should not be free to wear them. Of course not.

But the claims strong promotionists regularly make for the protective effect of helmets are unscientific and nothing short of outrageous.

Search cyclehelmets.org for arguments against the a "helmet saved my life" claim. They have extensive info. Be prepared for some stuff that might take at least a year to accept.

- Morten
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