PxPixel
Helmet compulsion leads to less cycling, say economists - BikeBiz

Helmet compulsion leads to less cycling, say economists

Mandatory helmet laws have "unintended consequences" says paper to be published in US Journal of Law and Economics
Author:
Publish date:
skulllid.jpg

According to a forthcoming study in the Journal of Law and Economics, bicycle helmet compulsion for children brings with it a likely drop in the amount of youth cycling. Children don't exercise any less, finds the study, but children ditch cycling and switch to other sports and activities.

The study - Intended and Unintended Consequences of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws [PDF] - is by economists Christopher S. Carpenter of the Merage School of Business at the University of California, and Mark F. Stehr of the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University.

The professors show that, in America, 650,000 fewer children ride bikes each year after helmet laws go into effect.

"As other states consider helmet laws as a way to reduce bicycling related injuries and fatalities, they should keep in mind that although the laws increase helmet use and reduce fatalities, they are also likely to reduce bicycling among the targeted group," says the study.

The professors conclude that "in addition to the increase in helmet use, there is also robust evidence for an unintended and previously undocumented mechanism: helmet laws produced modest but statistically significant reductions in youth bicycling participation of 4-5 percent…[but that] it is likely that overall bicycling miles travelled fell even more."

An emotive argument used often for cycle helmet compulsion is: "If legislation can save just one life, it will be worth it."

Helmet law opponents say that such an argument could be equally applied to compulsory helmets for child soccer players, pedestrians, and children ferried around in cars, all activities that have seen child fatalities caused through head injuries.

Featured Jobs

the cycle hub

Showroom Manager

The Cycle Hub I Dubai, United Arab Emirates I Competitive Package & Bonus I Date Published Tuesday 26th June 2018

Giant St Paul Logo

Bike Fitter / Sales Person

Giant St Pauls I City of London I Salary: Negotiable Dependent on Experience I Date Published Thursday 21st June 2018

CRC_Logo_620x349-1

Bike Technician

Chain Reaction Cycles I Ballyclare I Competitive Salary & Benefits Package I Date Published Monday 2nd July 2018

Canyon_Logo_1(1)

Brand Content Writer

Canyon Bicycles GmbH I Koblenz, Germany I Salary: Up to €38,000 I Date Published Tuesday 3rd July 2018

CRC_Logo_620x349-1

Retail Sales Advisor

Chain Reaction Cycles I Belfast I Competitive Salary & Benefits Package I Date Published Monday 2nd July 2018