New research reveals if helmet laws work
AUSTRALIAN researchers said their data's findings support the argument for mandatory helmet legislation and revealed a clear link between mandatory helmet laws and a drastic reduction in cycling fatalities.
According to a report published in the International Journal of Epidemiology Australian Mandatory Helmet Laws brought in to reduce fatalities in cycling have worked, with a world-first study of such laws at UNSW Sydney showing they led to an immediate 46 per cent drop in fatalities and have saved billions of dollars in medical costs since 1990.
Study lead author, Professor Jake Olivier of UNSW's School of Mathematics and Statistics and Deputy Director of the Transport and Road Safety Research Centre, said the data offers clear, solid and indisputable scientific evidence that mandatory helmet laws were effective in reducing cycling injuries in Australia.
"There was an immediate 46 per cent reduction in the rate of cycling fatalities per 100,000 population following the introduction of bicycle helmet legislation in Australia," he said.
"This decline has been maintained since 1990 and we estimate 1,332 fewer cycling fatalities associated with the introduction of bicycle helmet legislation to date."
Co-author Emeritus Professor Raphael Grzebieta said if Australian helmet laws were repealed there would be a sudden uptake in the rate of serious head injuries and fatalities among cyclists involved in a crash.
Prof Grzebieta said also at least 50 per cent of cycling injuries did not involve motor vehicles.
"Half of the serious head injuries had no vehicle involvement, they occurred on bicycle paths," he said.
"We need to get a move on in Australia and build better cycling infrastructure."
For Jason Sipple at Just Ride Cycles in East Lismore, it's essential helmets are fitted correctly.
"Ensure you have just two finger-widths of space between your eye-brows and the helmet," he said.
"It also must be an Australian Standard helmet with the 2063 label inside it so check with your local bike shop, this could could save your life."
The Children's Hospital Kid's Health, Department Head, Sue Wicks ,said its really important children wear helmets.
"It protects them from more serious injuries and fatalities," she said.