Washington: While helmets reduce head injuries and their use should be encouraged, the impact of legislation seems to be minimal, researchers suggest.
Cyclists are vulnerable road users and head injuries among cyclists account for 75 percent of cycling related deaths.
But debate exists about whether or not helmet legislation is an effective strategy to reduce serious head injuries among cyclists of all ages.
So a team of researchers based in Canada examined changes in the rate of cycling related head injuries associated with helmet legislation in young people and adults, while accounting for baseline trends in the rate of cycling injuries.
Between 1994 and 2008, there were 66,716 hospital admissions for cycling related injuries, 30 percent of which were head injuries.
During this time, there was a substantial and consistent fall in the rate of hospital admissions for cycling related head injuries across Canada.
Reductions were greatest in provinces with helmet legislation.
However, the researchers point out that admission rates were falling before the implementation of provincial helmet legislation and, after taking baseline trends into account, did not seem to change in response to legislation.