Ben Goldacre on bicycle helmets

Ben Goldacre (@bengoldacre) of Bad Science fame tweeting today on why mandatory helmets are a bad idea:

  • right, i’m too busy for a good job: do you want some vaguely remembered facts on helmets and helmet laws, with no references, or nothing?
  • ok, vaguely remembered facts: firstly, the evidence that helmets reduce head injuries comes only from observational data, fr obvious reasons
  • this means that it’s a bit tenuous: are the people who wear helmets likely to be more cautious cyclists in less serious accidents anyway? &c
  • in any case, it doesn’t show massive benefits (tho there are dismal cherrypicking ways of making it look huge)
  • meanwhile, compulsory helmet laws, where they’ve been introduced, have resulted in a massive, immediate drop in cycling, which is very bad
  • It’s better for all that there are more bikes on the road. Also, remember, a few people are killed on the road, gazillions off heart attacks
  • one last half remembered helmet fact: when countries introduce compulsory helmet laws their head injury stats didnt change much.
  • as i said, with time i’d do a proper job, this is twitter. my spare brain cycle time is gone, annoyingly, so back to proper work. cheerio.

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