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Helmets have much more effect when used in motor vehicles. Why were they exempted?

Good point Grendel. There is even more data on the effect of speeding etc on injury and death. I assume that they will also be cracking down on traffic scofflaws.

good luck with enforcement...and when i pedal through, given i live in DC but visit Lancaster often, what, pray tell, will the force of the sanction be? -- assuming I'll be caught, which I won't...

THIS IS STUPID STUPID STUPID -- but having lived in Lancaster and my mother being from Lewisburg, Pa, i know Penn. well : it is full of retards. Recall the Dover SChool Board on evolution -- and see the NOVA special about it...oh, and you cant buy a single beer in PA!!...

The joke in Pennsylvania goes like this: What's between Philadelphia and Pittsburg? Answer: Alabama. How far is Harrisburg from Philly? A thousand miles...

Rick Santorum, the senator from PA, is so goddamn dumb and arrogant that it is both scary and funny at the same time...he's almost as much a moron as Lindsay Graham from SC...

Since I was born in Abington,PA, I'm mildly offended. Go Eagles!

Helmets have much more effect when used in motor vehicles.

Can anyone point me to evidence of this oft-repeated claim? (Copenhaganize and cyclehelmet.org don't count.)

This does not seem like an onerous requirement. Good for them.

"Can anyone point me to evidence of this oft-repeated claim? "

If cyclists and motorists must obay the same laws, than if cyclist must wear helmets than motorists should also wear helmets. It would do a lot more good for the motorists than it would for the cyclists anyhow.

most automobile deaths and injuries are head trauma. Tens of thousands of deaths could be prevented with helmets like those used by scooter and motorcycle riders. A side effect of such a law is that people would come to belive that driving a car is dangerous (which it is) so they would be more likely to pay attention and proceed with caution, and drive less overall, following the risk-compensation dynamic.

Helmets that have a high enough impact rating to protect you from getting hit by a car would be too heavy and hot to be practical for use on a bicycle. Just because a bicycle helmet shatters in a spectacular way doens't mean much - it only has like a 5mph impact rating, which isn't going to help you for anything more than falling off the bike at a very low speed.

Aaron, it's not that it is onerous. I don't believe that should be the standard. I have two issues:

1. As Lee points out, it creates, through state imprimatur, the impression that cycling is significantly more dangerous than driving or walking, which I don't think is true. This reduces the number of people who bike (according to a study in Australia) and lowers the overall health.

2. People should be free to do things you might think of as stupid - as long as it doesn't risk anyone else's life. You can buy lottery tickets, walk around without sunscreen on, go decades without flossing etc... The annoying thing about freedom is that you can't legislate how other people have to live, no matter how much you might want to.


Thank you, but I'm not asking for a rehearsal of the motoring helmet meme or for interesting (but unsupported) speculation, but rather for empirical evidence for a claim that has been made here and elsewhere.

Anti-helmet advocates should be held to the same strict standard of proof to which they hold others.

There is no question that the per-mile mortality rate is significantly higher for cyclists than it is for cars. Of course, that is mostly the fault of drivers and not cyclists, but regardless the state is looking to reduce the number of deaths by cycling. If there were a safety feature that you could install on a car bumper that reduced cycling injuries/deaths, everyone here would be clamoring to make them mandatory. However, the safety feature has to be installed on the cyclist. What's the big deal? And why the knee-jerk reaction that "if we have to wear them then so should drivers?" I don't see why helmets is yet another Us vs. Them issue.


Somebody is going to hate that I wrote "death by cycling." I mean "death while cycling."

Actually there is quite a question about the per-mile mortality rate, rising from the fact that no one knows how many miles cyclists bike (or how many cyclists are injured in bike crashes). Without these facts, you can't calculate the per-mile mortality.

In general I think that biking in America is slightly more dangerous than driving, while biking in Europe is slightly safer (meaning it doesn't have to be the way it is in the US).

There is a difference between things you can do to make me safer and things I can do to make me safer. I don't need a law to allow me to wear a helmet - I'm already free to do that. But I do need a law to make you turn your headlights on at night.

The reason for bringing up helmets on motorists is that it brings to light the fact that driving is pretty dangerous too. Many people stay away from biking and instead choose to drive based on the fallacy that driving is safe and biking is dangerous. Helmet laws feed that fallacy.

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