Helmetless cyclists highest risk takers

by Mike Sabey


CYCLISTS who refuse to wear helmets are more likely to ride in ways that put them at risk, according to a 2013 NSW study of 6700 bike riders who collided with motor vehicles.

The authors of the study say the evidence demonstrates the value of compulsory helmet laws, which some cyclists and researchers want repealed to try and increase the popularity of cycling.

The evidence says helmets work: they minimise the risk of injury.

Academics at the University of NSW's Transport and Road Safety Research Group and its School of Mathematics and Statistics looked at the relationship between the severity of cycling injuries on NSW roads and whether the bike rider was wearing a helmet.

The results, published last February in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, show that cyclists not wearing a helmet were almost four times as likely to sustain a head injury compared to those with head protection.

In part, this was because cyclists who were not wearing a helmet were more likely to engage in other behaviour that led to accidents: they were more likely to disobey traffic rules and more likely to be riding while drunk.

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