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Head Injuries Decline After Bicycle Helmets Mandated

Bike helmet (Rennett Stowe/Flickr)Investigators at University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia report that bicycle-related head injuries fell significantly in the months after mandatory helmet legislation came into effect in that province. The researchers published their findings in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention (paid subscription required).

Australia was the first country to introduce mandatory helmet legislation in 1991, and the results indicate injuries fell by up to 29 percent after the laws were introduced.

Biostatistician Jake Olivier and researchers from the Injury Risk Management Research Centre and the Sax Institute examined trends in NSW hospital admissions for cyclists and pedestrians. They compared the rate of head injury relative to arm injury, and separately for head injury relative to leg injury, in the months before and after the legislation was introduced.

They found the decrease in head injury rates was significantly greater for cyclists compared to pedestrians, and cyclist head injuries decreased more than limb injuries. The data support keeping the laws intact, despite recent calls for their repeal.

Photo: Rennett Stowe/Flickr

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