The ECF (European Cycling Federation) stated "the evidence from Australia and New Zealand suggests that the wearing of helmets might even make cycling more dangerous,"
European Cycling Federation. 'Improving bicycle safety without making helmet use compulsory;
Brussels, Belgium. 1998. http://www.fiab-onlus.it/andare/helm_gb.doc
Erke and Elvik19 (Norwegian researchers) 2007 stated: "There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand, the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent."
Erke A, Elvik R, Making Vision Zero real: Preventing Pedestrian Accidents And Making Them Less
Severe, Oslo June 2007. page 28http://www.toi.no/getfile.php/Publikasj ... 7-nett.pdf
The UK's National Children's Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review in 200572 stating
"the case for helmets is far from sound", "the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported" and "the case has not yet been convincingly made for compulsory use or promotion of cycle helmets."
Helmets in general are not designed to limit rotational acceleration and Lane reported "it has been recognised since the work of Holbourn (1943) that rotational acceleration of the head plays a major part in brain injury". Helmets incur more impacts than a bare head due to their size and increase the risk of rotation.
Helmet requirements can add to inconvenience and detract from the enjoyment of cycling. Enjoying physical activity is a key element in taking part. Helmet laws try to force people into wearing them with threats of fines or police involvement. This infringes on the main reason for cycling and is part of the discouraging process.
Victoria Australia, survey data following their helmet law;
297 extra wearing helmets and 1110 fewer cyclists
New South Wales, survey data following their helmet law;
569 extra wearing helmets and 2658 fewer cyclists
Main effect was to discourage cycling.
See Robinson DL; Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws; Accid Anal Prev, 28, 4: p 463-475, 1996http://www.cycle-helmets.com/robinson-head-injuries.pdf
The health benefits of cycling exceed the risks by 20 to 1, therefore helmet laws do much more harm than good. Forcing people to wear helmets detracts from the pleasure of cycling. Curnow concluded that "Compulsion to wear a bicycle helmet is detrimental to public health". Curnow WJ, Bicycle helmets and public health in Australia, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2008 Apr;19(1):10-15.
The consumer magazine Which? independently tested 24 helmets and reported
that only 9 passed all tests and therefore even new helmets may not be reliable.
Are those promoting or selling helmets providing suitable warnings?