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The arguments for and against the introduction and enforcement of bicycle helmet compulsion are surpisingly diverse. Here is an attempt at a systematic pro et contra overview.

Work in progress... Arguments to be added, counter arguments and references filled in.


Pro-compulsion arguments and replies Edit

Very many cyclists hit their heads Edit

Pro Edit

Every year many thousand persons report to hospitals with head wounds

Con Edit

True, but the vast number of head injuries pertain to falls and to Traffic injuries to pedestrians, car occupants.

Science says helmets are very effective Edit

Pro Edit

Several high-profile scientific reviews of the literature have concluded beyond doubt that cycling helmet show superior efficiency in reducing injuries. Template:Ref:Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001855.html

Con Edit

The reviews have only chosen a very narrow selection of articles on the subject and do not answer the criticism they have recieved. Also in the Cochrane case, the reviewers have themselves carried out the majority of the studies. The other review uses virtually the same narrow choice of studies.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article637031.ece


Template:Ref:Curnow WJ., The Cochrane Collaboration and bicycle helmets. Accid Anal Prev. 2005 May;37(3):569-73. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list uids=15784212&dopt=Abstract

Most cycling accidents are single-vehicle Edit

Cycling is much more dangerous than driving Edit

Even concussions can have long-term effects Edit

Cyclists need protection just like car drivers Edit

Protection is forced upon car-occupants Edit

If a single life is saved by a helmet law it is worth it Edit

Helmet compulsion for children even more pressing Edit

pro Edit

Children have larger and heavier heads, relatively and therefore more easily get head injuries. Abilities to judge distances and speeds are also less than in adults.

con Edit

True, but amongst children, neither is cycling a major cause of serious head injuries. On the other and physical exercise and freedom to explore is paramount to childrens deveolpement. The scientific evidence specifically on efficiency of helmets for children is no more conclusive than for adults or whole population studies. The frequently cited studies have so many errors. See the appendix of "Cycling and children and young people" by Tim Gill, for a treatise on children and helmet compulsion.

Contra-compulsion arguments and replies Edit

No evident injury reduction in compulsion regions Edit

Cycling has a very positive net health effect Edit

Cycling is the most environmentally viable vehicle Edit

Helmet compulsion reduces cycling Edit

Reduced cycling reduces safety in numbers Edit

Helmet compulsion leads to risk compensation Edit

Rotational forces are the most dangerous Edit

Helmets do not help against rotational forces Edit

Strong evidence of net good needed Edit

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