Cycling Society

Yet more evidence

New Canadian study shows bike helmet laws make no difference to injury rates:

The ultimate conclusion is that other factors are more important that mandatory helmet legislation.

In our study comparing exposure-based injury rates in 11 Canadian jurisdictions, we found that females had lower hospitalisation rates than males. This difference in injury rates is consistent with other bicycling studies and studies of other transportation modes. We found that lower rates of traffic-related injuries were associated with higher cycling mode shares, a finding also reported else- where. We did not find a relationship between injury rates and helmet legislation.

These results suggest that transportation and health policymakers who aim to reduce bicycling injury rates in the population should focus on factors related to increased cycling mode share and female cycling choices. Bicycling routes designed to be physically separated from traffic or along quiet streets fit both these criteria and are associated with lower relative risks of injury.

Basically the path to safer cycling is pretty clear: Instead of scaring people off the road with helmet rules and high-visibility campaigns, why not just build the safe infrastructure needed to attract all kinds of people onto bikes. As the study shows, it is a lot more effective and has so many other benefits for society.