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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Do bicycle helmets do more harm than good?

A new study to be published Friday in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia suggest that bicycle helmets are "detrimental to public health in Australia."

The Australian newspaper reported in its Friday edition that bicycle helmets may in fact increase the risk of serious injury - and laws requiring their use Australia-wide have compounded the problem by deterring people from cycling altogether.

"Experimental studies have shown that in some circumstances, wearing a helmet can increase the rotation of the head (on impact), and that increases angular acceleration of the brain - which is the most damaging factor in brain injury," suggests the study, written by Bill Curnow, president of the Canberra-based Cyclists Rights Action Group.

Curnow's study also suggests that participation in cycling dropped by 50 percent in the two years after the helmet requirement went into effect in Australian jurisdictions.

Not surprisingly, other Australian groups reject those findings. Bicycle Federation of Australia Executive Director Peter Strang said, "We don't accept the view that helmets cause more injuries than they prevent."

My two accidents that landed me in hospital emergency rooms have me convinced that my helmet prevented more serious head injuries. Also, nearly 20 years ago, I saw one of my cycling buddies crash while going down a steep downhill near Elsah, Ill. Despite hitting the rocky side of the road, my buddy escaped with only a minor brain concussion.

I don't know about you, but I'm keeping my helmet on.

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 11:14 PM

Its like the eggs are bad...no wait eggs are good thing. This same sort of debate has been going on for far longer in the motorcycle world than in cycling. It happened in Hockey too. I'm sure it was an issue for baseball as well.

People don't like to be told they have to do something. How many people still don't wear seat belts in cars.

Maybe we shouldn't have laws like this so all the idiots will get taken out of the gene pool. Fewer people on the planet would do a lot of good. Fewer famines, less stress on the worlds resources supplies, lower emissions across all industries, less need for fossil fuels.

So if you look at it like that, I'd agree that helmets in fact do cause more harm than good.
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