NZ PHYSICIAN ANSWERS CANADIAN COP - Sgt. Mark Tonner is a Vancouver police officer who is having second thoughts about British Columbia's adult helmet law. His article in the Province, a Vancouver daily newspaper, came to the attention of Dr. Peter Keller, a 66 year old anaesthetist and a life long cyclist who never wore a helmet prior to the introduction of New Zealand's law. Keller has worked in Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Australia, using a bicycle as basic
transport. He decided to write to Tonner and share his own experience. Dr. Keller's letter ...
HELMET LAWS COST MILLIONS - showing they do more harm than good, according to an article on the website of the New Scientist. Cited is Piet de Jong, a mathematician at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who says that helmet laws like those in effect in Australia levy a substantial cost on healthcare systems because savings from fewer head injuries pale in comparison to the costs incurred by decreases in cycling. In reply to those skeptical of his findings, he says only under extreme, theoretical circumstances do mandatory helmet laws not end up costing the healthcare system. Dejong's findings are based on a model that assumes regular cycling results in health benefits and research showing helmet laws reduce cycling. More ...
SKI HELMET HYSTERIA - Skiers are now being subject to the same bigotry that cyclists have been suffering - a result of the skiing death of British actress, Natasha Richardson. The National Post, a Canadian national newspaper carried an opinion piece on its website. More ...
ABC TV's JOHN STOSSEL'S VIDEO ON HELMETS - Investigative journalist, mythbuster and libertarian, John Stossel has weighed in on the bicycle helmet issue. Stossel, a New York City cyclist, has made a video about the unintended consequences of safety regulations. Included in the video are discussions with Ian Walker of Bath University (UK) on the unintended effects of bicycle helmet use. More Stossel videos ...
SEGREGATION VERSUS VEHICULAR CYCLING - While looking for information on another matter I came across an article by Malcolm Wardlaw, Assessing the actual risks faced by cyclists, published in the December 2002 edition of TEC, a UK magazine of Traffic Engineering and Control. On page 354 Wardlaw argues that lower accident rates to Dutch and Danish cyclists is not because of the segregated bicycle facilities in the Netherlands and Denmark but rather because of the phenomenom of safety in numbers - the more cyclists there are the safer cycling becomes for everybody. More at ...
FURTHER CRITICISM OF PEDIATRICS ARTICLE - Following the publication of our comments concerning an article published in the journal Pediatrics (see November 2008 below),
another voice has been added to the list of critics. In a letter published in the
on-line version of Pediatrics, shows in detail why the methods and findings of the Wesson et al report are severely flawed.
MORE JUNK SCIENCE OUT OF TORONTO - An article published in the September 1, 2008 edition of the journal Pediatrics
claimed that a decrease in child cyclist fatalities in the Canadian province of Ontario may be attributable in part to helmet legislation and therefore, the authors
conclude, Ontario's helmet law should be extended to adults! The report fails to show a link between helmet use and cyclist deaths - a link that is essential to show that helmets save lives.
The authors' conclusion is based on an assumption that helmet use increased. But evidence doesn't back that up.
The authors also failed to acknowledge there was a prevailing general downward trend in Ontario's traffic fatalities before and after legislation was introduced, child pedestrian fatalities included.
(source: Ontario Road Safety Annual Reports). Perhaps the authors would endorse the possibility that bicycle helmet legislation saved the lives of pedestrians too. More ...
MINISTER ADMITS NZ HELMET LAW DETERS CYCLING - The press in New Zealand has reported that national government minister
of Transportation (now ex-minister after defeat of the Labour government in November's election) has been wondering whether ditching the national helmet law would
get more people on to bicycles. More ...
HELMET PROMOTION PUTS WOMEN OFF CYCLING - Women are three times less likely to cycle than men because they are put
off by "helmet hair" and getting sweaty,
a report says. Famous model Ell Macpherson is one woman not deterred by helmet use. She simply doesn't wear one.
OZ RESEARCH SAYS EXCESSIVE FOCUS ON SAFETY PUTS OFF CYCLISTS - Dr Chris Rissel Sydney University,
co-author of a 2008 research report on cycling says transport authorities should highlight the fun, convenience and
health and environmental benefits of cycling, rather than what he views as an undue emphasis on danger and safety
messages. More ...
WORLDWIDE BICYCLE ACCIDENT SURVEY - The 1,600 member New York Cycle Club
based in New York City, is conducting a worldwide bicycle accident survey. The survey is for education and advocacy purposes.
The results will be made freely available to the public at the conclusion of the survey.
To complete go to survey ...
LONDON'S NEW MAYOR FAVOURS CHOICE. The City of London's new mayor, Boris Johnson, who recently defeated incumbent "Red" Ken Livingstone,
has entered the discussion on mandatory bicycle helmet laws. Mayor Johnson says that we should be allowed, in our muddled way,
to make up our own minds. Sometimes we will go for hatless,
sun-blessed, windswept liberty; sometimes for helmeted security. He says that the important thing is that we assess the risk, we
make the decision, and be it on our own heads - or, in the case of his helmet, sometimes not. Clearly Boris is not your typical nanny-state politician.
HOST OF VEHICULAR CYCLIST ON CBC RADIO - Listen to safety and cycling discussion on CBC Radio One Sounds Like Canada broadcast June 11th.
CANADIAN AUTHORS ASKED TO CLARIFY THEIR HELMET STUDY - a letter published on the website of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) states that a study of data collected in East York, a district of Toronto, Ontario was incomplete when it found that Ontario's child helmet law didn't reduce cycling. Earlier studies of other jurisdictions have shown the opposite - that cycling did decline after helmet laws were implemented. Malcolm Wardlaw, the author of the letter to the BMJ, said that the key difference between the Ontario study and the earlier studies was that, unlike elsewhere, the law in Ontario was never enforced. He feels the authors should have made this fact clear. Wardlaw is concerned because the study was a primary factor in the British Medical Association's move to support an enforced all-ages helmet law. He feels that had this been known to the BMA, they might have come to a different conclusion.
The letter had echoed a similar view we expressed about the Ontario study in our 2005 critique of the arguments used in favour helmet legislation.
It is not the first time Wardlaw has challenged the safety establishment. In May 2006 we ran a piece about a BMJ article he authored that contained a satire in which pedestrians were encouraged to wear walking helmets.
He is now calling on the authors of the study to publish an open letter to the BMA to make clear that the 2001 paper referred to a law that was never enforced. More ...