1. Richard Burton Richard Burton United Kingdom says:

    Like most articles promoting helmets as "the answer" to the safety of cyclists, it uses questionable and misleading information and statistics.  

    "According to a World Health Organisation report in 2020, more than 60 per cent of the reported bicycle-related deaths and long-term disabilities are a result of accidents with head injuries."  

    How many of those deaths were actually due to the head injury?  Almost none, but by conflating deaths with head injuries, it makes head injuries appear much more dangerous.  A head injury can be a scratch, and many bicycle collisions will result in such minor injuries, but they aren't life threatening.  Why is it that the death rate of cyclists does not fall as helmet wearing rates increase?

    One of the most damaging things about this endless promotion of cycle helmets is that it distracts from real measures to make cycling safe, like segregated cycle paths.  It also distracts from the main cause of injuries and deaths; drivers.  Whenever there is a collision between a driver and a cyclist, the first question asked is "were they wearing a helmet?" when a helmet wouldn't have made the slightest difference, but not knocking the cyclist off in the first place would have made 100% difference.

    The safest place in the world to cycle is Holland, where no-one wears a helmet.  One of the most dangerous places to ride is Australia, where everyone does.

    It has been estimated that even if helmets were 100% effective, that would have very little effect on the death rate of cyclists, as almost all cyclists who die in collisions with motor vehicles also have other fatal injuries.

    Could we please stop going down the dead end of getting the victims to armour themselves, and sort the problem out at source; segregated infrastructure and harsh penalties for drivers who put cyclists at risk.  As the medical cliche goes, treat the cause not the symptoms.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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