BC’s bicycle-helmet law has been in effect for 15 years, but you wouldn’t always know it from watching cyclists. While many pedallers, especially the serious daily commuters, are protecting their melons, it’s frustrating to see so many scofflaws riding around unprotected. This is especially frustrating for parents trying to set a good example for their kids, who may argue that helmets aren’t cool or resist wearing them because most of their friends don’t.
The evidence about the effectiveness of bike helmets is frustratingly unclear. While many studies show that helmets reduce deaths and head injuries, other show they are ineffective and in some cases may do more harm than good. The head-injury rate for cyclists in the Netherlands, for example, where almost no one wears a helmet, is one-third of places where helmets are the law. That may have more to do, however, with greater public awareness of cycle safety than the headgear.
But one can’t help but think, overall, that helmets offer protection. One can’t imagine playing hockey nowadays without one, or even hitting the slopes. And, after all, it is the law, which police should be doing more to enforce to increase helmet use — and help keep parents from being the bad guys on the issue.
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