Bike Helmet Regulations Hurt Health

(p. D1) . . . many cycling advocates have taken a surprising position: They are pushing back against mandatory bike-helmet laws in the U.S. and elsewhere. They say mandatory helmet laws, particularly for adults, make cycling less convenient and seem less safe, thus hindering the larger public-health gains of more people riding bikes.
All-ages helmet laws might actually make cycling more dangerous, some cyclists say, by decreasing ridership. Research shows that the more cyclists there are on the road, the fewer crashes there are. Academics theorize that as drivers become used to seeing bikes on a street, they watch more closely for them.
. . .
Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Sydney’s Macquarie University, actually calculated the trade-off of mandatory helmet laws. In a 2012 paper in the journal Risk Analysis, he weighed the reduction of head injuries against increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling.
Dr. de Jong concluded that mandatory bike-helmet laws “have a net negative health impact.” That is in part because many people cycle to work or for errands, experts say. People tend to replace that type of cycling not with another physical activity such as a trip to the gym, but with a ride in a car.

For the full story, see:
RACHEL BACHMAN. “The Helmet-Law Backlash.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., Oct. 13, 2015): D1 & D4.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article was dated Oct. 12, 2015, and has the title “Do Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?”)

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