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Minimal impact of helmet laws on head injuries

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, helmet legislation in Canada has failed to have a decisive impact in reducing head injuries to cyclists.

Reductions in the rates of admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries were greater in provinces with helmet legislation, but injury rates were already decreasing before the implementation of legislation and the rate of decline was not appreciably altered on introduction of legislation.

In the Canadian context of existing safety campaigns, improvements to the cycling infrastructure, and the passive uptake of helmets, the researchers conclude that the incremental contribution of provincial helmet legislation to reducing hospital admissions for head injuries seems to have been minimal.

According to an editorial in the BMJ, this study uses a "superior methodology" compared with other helmet studies. The journal says that case control studies are subject to "confounding variables that are generally unmeasured and perhaps even unmeasurable".

Tue 14 May 2013

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