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the study, by pediatricians, only looked at safety for riders under 16, and looked at helmet laws impacting those under 16 (because AFAIK no US state has laws mandating helmets for adults) Leaving aside any other methodological issues, this cannot be generalized to laws mandating helmets for adults. And thinking about it, it makes sense that that would be different - since the major neg of helmet laws (for those of us who accept that RIDING with a helmet is safer) is the critical mass effect. that effect is likely driven by adult cyclists for many reasons 1. Adult cyclists are more likely to ride in mixed traffic, and so will do more to make drivers aware - 2. Adult cyclsists are more likely to lobby for infrastructure 3. Adult cyclists are more likely to themselves be drivers -one of the benefits of more riders is that more drivers are riders

The 25% seems believable,
though of course the study can not determine what portion is because kids rode their bikes less (due to either secular trends or the laws). Basically, I think they would need to have some states that repealed helmet laws to be sure of attribution.

For all the flaws of case-control studies, this type of study is even less reliable.

I'm not getting too worked up about it. It recommends laws mandating use by children. It's silent as to adult use.

The other problem is that mandating a policy makes it harder to reverse that policy once the unexpected side effects occur. For example, they mandated all sorts of laws to improve survivability in a vehicle crash, but had the other result of (a) removing driver incentive to be safer (b) making cars more dangerous for non-cars (c) increasing vehicle weight.

Suppose we were to stipulate that the reduction in incidence were entirely due to a physical protective effect. A 19% reduction of a 2.5 in 1,000,000 risk requires quite a lot of balancing against other factors-- discouragement of physical activity and simple loss of autonomy, to name a couple--before advocating a mandate.

That's the kind of mindless nannyism that's making this old liberal turn red in spots.

helmets are good! laws mandating them are bad!

"Sunscreen saves lives, we don't mandate it's use."

Sure, but normal people use sunscreen. Biking helmets are used by bikers. And bikers are freakish weirdos on the fringe of society who must be kept under control.

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