Hi PF, thanks for posting that. I'd just finished reading it myself and thought I should link it to the board because I believe it brought out a lot of the same points I've been trying to make on this board in recent years.At least it's nice to see someone somewhere shares some of those views - even if they received little consideration here.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/sunday-review/to-encourage......One of the most important considerations here is the extent to which helmet laws discourage bicycle use.I think we all would like to see more people enjoy biking and perhaps fewer cars in our cities. To that extent maybe we can agree that we need to try at least, to see what we can do to make cycling more accessible.It should be obvious that many people believe helmets help, and no one should be discouraged from wearing a helmet if they feel safer that way. My problem has always been with mandatory helmet laws, and not optional helmet use.This article brings out one point I hadn't in my arguments and that's the idea that helmet laws help encourage the perception that cycling is more dangerous than it really is. By forcing people to wear helmets we create an atmosphere in which many people withdraw from the activity completely.We can't easily measure how many people are turned off of cycling out of either fear, or the fact that a helmet creates one more thing you have to do in order to participate. There can be a big difference between getting a bike and going, and getting a bike and then looking for a helmet...The requirement makes cycling less accessible and a less spontaneous activity in a time when physical activity can be very important to health.How can we say helmets save lives when forcing people to use them could be contributing - if even in a small way to an even more sedentary lifestyle? Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke kill many millions every year. And lack of physical activity is a factor in each of these.Do helmets really save more lives than they destroy? That isn't clear.Until it is we don't need laws forcing mandatory helmet use.
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