The issue of compulsory cycle helmets is contentious: they improve cyclist safety, but they can also discourage casual bicycle usage. A new study by academics at the University of NSW highlights one issue that won’t be much comfort for those who want cycle helmet laws changed: people who ride without helmets are also more likely to ignore traffic rules and to ride drunk.
Cycling picture from Shutterstock
The study, reported on by The Conversation, analysed injury records for 6745 cyclists over an eight-year period. Three-quarters of the riders injured wore helmets, and there was an obvious benefit: the risk of head injuries was reduced by 74 per cent in that group. But the disturbing trend was in the 24.6 per cent who didn’t wear helmets (a trend which was more notable amongst cyclists under 19). They were four times more likely to have an illegal blood alcohol reading, and three times more likely to have disobeyed traffic control signals such as signs and lights.
The big lesson? Whatever mode of transport you use, it pays to be safety-conscious and to obey the law.
Cyclists with no helmets more likely to ride drunk [The Conversation]