Doctors say bicycle helmets should not be compulsory

British Medical Journal survey reveals lack of support for laws on helmets
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Doctors have warned that the health benefits of regular cycling may be lost if wearing a helmet whilst cycling is made mandatory, as reported in the Daily Telegraph.

In a poll by the respected British Medical Journal of 1,427 its readers, over two thirds said they opposed laws to make helmets compulsory for adult cyclists.

On of the respondents said: "It [making helmets mandatory for adult cyclists] gives out the message that cycling is dangerous, which it is not. The evidence that cycling helmets work to reduce injury is not conclusive.

"What has, however, been shown is that laws that make wearing helmets compulsory decrease cycling activity. Cycling is a healthy activity and cyclists live longer on average than non-cyclists."

The article also noted that Australia’s move to make helmet wearing a legal requirement of adult cycling in 1991 led to a 30 per cent reduction in cycling rates. Calls for a trial repeal of the law are being made in the territory.

The long-running debate over whether helmets should be mandatory or not was thrown back into the spotlight earlier this month when a Liberal Democrat MP proposed a helmet compulsion bill for child cyclists.

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