Doctors Argue Against Mandatory Bike Helmet Laws


A mandatory bike helmet law is under consideration in British Parliament, and two physicians are arguing against the idea.
Their take is that there simply isn’t enough evidence to support that
helmet use saves lives, and that the evidence that does exist is
contradictory at best.

But they also present a few compelling moral arguments against helmet
laws for cyclists — and, also, for skiers, paddlers, and even

The authors, Carwyn Hooper and John Spicer of the University of
London, do acknowledge that their thinking is unconventional (the
British Medical Association backs passage of the law, for example) but
they explain what they think is a flaw in the BMA’s logic: namely, that
bike helmets protect people well when they fall off bikes and onto the
pavement (all standard bike helmet tests are drops, where a helmet is
dropped from about shoulder height onto a flat anvil). But helmets
aren’t sturdy enough to protect against brain and skull injuries caused
by impact with a car or flying off the bike forward or backward the way
motorcycle helmets do. (They are in favor of compulsory helmet use for
motorcycles because they say there’s clear evidence that it reduces
fatalities and injury.)

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