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
Every year many thousand persons report to hospitals with head wounds
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.