Will new Australian research settle the debate that compulsory helmets reduces head injury?

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As some of you may know, there has been a long running debate in Australia about whether or not the introduction of compulsory helmet laws in the state of New South Wales has led to a reduction in head injuries among cyclists. Well new research suggests that it does and this debate can now be put to rest.

New research published by University of New South Wales 9UNSW and the Sax Institute in the Accident Analysis and Prevention Journal states there was a 29 per cent reduction in head injuries from the period immediately before the new laws were introduced and the period immediately after.

Dr Olivier in a press release said that the research group "set out to perform the most comprehensive analysis possible on the subject while addressing any data limitations and possible confounding factors," ."What we found provides compelling evidence that the legislation has served its purpose in reducing bike-related head injuries and any repeal of the laws would only put lives at risk," he continued.

I personally don't think this research will put the debate to rest.  Many say that the legislation simply put people off cycling because they could not afford to buy a helmet or didn't like cycling without one.  Cyclists like to feel the wind in their hair and so decided to stop cycling altogether rather than comply with the new ruling.   As someone who has seen first hand how devastating injuries can be for people who cycle without a helmet, I don't know why anyone would take the risk.

See the full press release.

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