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The whole Adult Bike Helmet Issue… Again

This will be in the news forever.

Today, it’s a Globe & Mail news item about mandatory helmet use by all cyclists.

What these articles NEVER mention is that in accidents involving car occupants and/or pedestrians, the injured are NEVER wearing helmets. If it’s much more likely that someone will be hurt while in a car or as a pedestrian, shouldn’t helmets be mandatory for them?

I’ve posted about this before, using official statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, but if you don’t feel like reading my earlier post, here’s the most important bits:

I find it interesting that only about 10% (~500 out of ~5000) of traumatic head injuries suffered by children happened while cycling – yet helmets are mandatory for them. 90% of child traumatic head injuries did NOT happen while cycling.

only about 2.5% (~300 out of ~12,000) of traumatic head injuries suffered by adults happened while cycling. 97.5% of traumatic head injuries did NOT happen while cycling. In fact, most of them happened in motor vehicle accidents.

I used to wear a helmet. Now I don’t.

Wearing a helmet does not determine whether I get hit by a car or not. Whether I get hit or not depends on the driver, and that I ride my bike in a safe manner (which I do).

It’s a given that if I suffer a head injury, it will be less serious if I am wearing a helmet. However, given that according to the CIHI, only about 300 adults are hospitalized per year with cycling-related head injuries… the chances of me being hit and suffering a head-related injury that a helmet could mitigate is very small.


Of 2500 Major Head Injuries Annually in Ontario
49% motor vehicle involvement – including pedestrians, excluding cyclists
35% falls, 6% homicide, 2% suicide, 6% other causes
less than 2% Cycling
(Source: Canadian Institute For Health Information 2001/2002) [link]


I base my behaviour on the statistics. Not the hysteria.

Also, and this is a biggie… biking is a lot more fun without a helmet. Try it on some quiet sidestreets and you’ll thank me.

Good links:


[source]

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