Cycle helmets be less effective than we thought

ScienceNordic has posted a brief article on a 2011 study by Norwegian traffic researcher Rune Elvik that shows that while helmets do in fact decrease head injuries, their effectiveness may be lower than previously thought.

Looking at the overall effect of the helmets on injuries to the head, face and the neck, Elvik argues that the helmets reduce the risk by 33 percent, which is almost half as much as the 2001 study found.

“In terms of head injuries, there is a clear reduction in injuries when people wear a helmet. But if we look at e.g. the neck and the back of the neck, then all studies indicate a certain risk of injury when wearing a helmet,” he says, adding that neck injuries are usually not as serious as head injuries.”

“One would think that the earliest bike helmets that were made would be less effective than the ones that are made today, but we’re actually seeing an opposite trend: it has become less safe to wear a bike helmet over the years, and that is surprising.”

Read the original article at ScienceNordic, and check out a PDF of Elvik’s study at www.cycle-helmets.com. No matter the study I’ll keep on wearing mine, and hoping I don’t have to use it.

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