Cycling in Sydney Australia
The actual, and real problem is WHICH 400 head injuries do they prevent.
ie reducing 400 outpatient treatable head injuries per year, and preventing no ICU cases, and no deaths is more or less entirely pointless given the actual tangible costs of the law.
Yeah... the change is *really* convincing:
Remove the line showing the helmet legislation introduction and you'd be hard pressed to guess where it was introduced. There is a lot of noise overlaid on a downward trend (which was the same trend for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists). Helmet laws for cyclists aren't the explanation.
The study wasn't impressive at all. Some clever statistical methods used for sure, but drawing absurd conclusions from their results.
Great read Paul, thanks for the link.
Similar holes are being poked in helmet research overseas.
The thing with the Australia centric researchers is that they don't seem to have reliable pre/post law numbers and so the effects are lost in the mists of time. The deficiencies in the bicycle count surveys with their different times of year, bicycle parades, etc. seem to create a vacuum into which all sorts of weird and wonderful analysis is cast.
But there are other countries with laws - usually for children - which do offer more complete data sets. Sure some of the Canadian ones seem to be suspect, the one which suggests that laws increase bicycle usage is a case in point - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20587815 - have a look at the data they used.
So this one out of the USA http://www.nber.org/papers/w18773.pdf?new_window=1 has a huge data set with much pre and post law numbers from many different states. It seems to conclude that helmet laws don't do much other than reduce cycling and that the kids who stop cycling end up balancing the ledger by injuring themselves on other wheeled devices which aren't covered under the helmet laws.
"Simply put, mandating helmets for bike-share is akin to requiring seat belts on the bus"
Yep, and what does Australia do? Requires seat belts on buses (at least on tourist coaches). If there is a nanny-state option, we'll be there!
It's just so ridiculous. I'm going home to Europe in a few month, and I'm looking forward to it. Australia may be a great country, but it's really a terrible place when it comes to everyday cycling (and I don't only mean helmet laws, but the overall situation).
Most commentators here seem to have overlooked the fact that the minister's 18.6.13. letter is the standard response to any letter to any NSW minister on any subject. Having been written by a minor minion, it just states current policy ! So the forty-odd responses here have been a bit of a waste of time.
Things only start to happen when a substantial number of people challenge the minister's glib reply.
( I don't wear a helmet. If I see a copper I detour around him/er, Problem solved. )