[messengers] Some scientific bloke has made it his business to repeal helmet laws in Aussieland.

Date: 21 Aug 2010 14:13:08 +0200
From: Michael Dodd <mikeydodds@xxxxxxxxx>

He released a study but i lost it. (this is one of his follow ups

*"Professor Chris Rissel on helmet laws*

*I do not advocate for repealing seat-belt legislation, because the evidence
is very, very strong that they reduced head injuries in the community.*

*This is not the case with bicycle helmets. I agree that no one study
answers all the questions one might have about the legislation, and my study
did not attempt to do this.*

*I agree helmets offer some protection to the head at an individual level,
but the evidence indicates that the effects of legislation are not apparent
at the community level over time. A policy that affects the entire community
should show effects at that level. *

*At the time Professor McDermott was with the Victorian Road Trauma
Committee there were many serious problems with road injuries, and the
desire to improve bicyclist safety was admirable. However, with hindsight,
we can see that there were many other strategies and programs that improved
the injury rates, but the helmet legislation was a negligible contribution.

*At that time we didn't have the enormous problems with obesity, diabetes
and renal failure that we do now. We know that helmets represent a barrier
to people cycling and the health effects of more people cycling and being
active far outweigh the injury.*

*One final point is about the way we talk about risk. The case-control
studies that indicate that cyclists with head injuries admitted to hospital
without helmets might have an increased-odds ratio of likelihood of injury
of 20 or 30 per cent compared to wearing helmets make the risk seem higher
than they really are. *

*The absolute risk of any individual on a bicycle getting a head injury
might be in the order of one in a million, and even doubling the risk (an
odds ratio of 2.0) to two in a million, it is still tiny. The known risks of
getting overweight or developing diabetes from inactivity are many times
more significant that the injury risk.*

*If helmet legislation was such a good idea, why hasn't the rest of the
world followed suit? The fact is that in the countries with high cycling
rates, Australia's helmet legislation is a joke."*