European grant to study cycle helmet safety

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The new project falls within the ambit of the organisation European Co-operation on Science and Technology (COST), which provides an intergovernmental framework for partnership in research across a range of disciplines, and which has previously conducted a project on motorcycle helmets.

COST says of the new initiative:

“Cycling is an excellent sustainable alternative to driving. Cyclists have few safety options, of which a helmet is one. However, there are strong indications that law-mediated increases of helmet usage for cyclists cause confounding factors which temper the positive effect of these helmets on head and brain injury. Furthermore, current helmet design is suboptimal. Since several fields are important to bicycle helmet optimization, a combined effort involving all of these is necessary; so that a given parameter is not optimized at the cost of another. Finally, the attitudes of cyclist towards helmets will be focused upon; providing tools for improving helmet usage. The multidisciplinary approach respects the complex nature of the issue, it is unique in Europe, and will provide more complete information to legislators, manufacturers, end-users, and scientists, ultimately leading to increased safety for cyclists.”

In layman’s terms, that means examining the efficacy or otherwise of compulsory helmet laws and the pros and cons of introducing such legislation,  whether the design of existing helmets could be improved and bike riders’ own attitudes towards helmets.

Scientists from some 20 countries throughout the continent will be involved in the study group, and their findings and recommendations could be used in refining EU safety standards as well as providing a greater understanding of issues surrounding helmet use.

This is a great way of pulling together ideas.  It may lead to new safety standards or increase awareness to the risks involved of cycling without a helmet.  This is a topic close to me heart having acted for may clients who have suffered head injuries whilst out cycling.   You may have read my article on this topic a few weeks ago 

Claire Howard

Partner - Personal Injury team.

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