You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Bike helmets do work: study

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016 By Tom Rabe

Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury in a crash by almost 70 per cent, new research shows, but not all cyclists are convinced they must be mandatory.

Researchers from the University of NSW reviewed data from 43 international studies and found that helmets dramatically improved a cyclist's chance of survival in a crash.

Wearing a helmet reduced the risk of death in a crash by 65 per cent and serious injury by 69 per cent.

Helmets would also reduce facial injury in more than a third of crashes.

Authors Jake Olivier and Prudence Creighton found reason for countries around the world to consider strategies to increase the use of helmets.

But Freestyle Cyclists spokesman Geoff McLeod said while he did not dispute the science behind the effectiveness of helmets, the way governments enforced their use in Australia was pushing people away from cycling.

"It's not about helmets, it's about implementing the law correctly, where it doesn't cause a negative health effect in the population," Mr McLeod told AAP on Thursday.

"Right now cycling is dead and buried in Australia except for a few trendy pockets.

"We should adopt a healthier approach and reform the law so I can cycle on a separated bike path, or park environment, without the need of worrying about whether the police are going to pull me up."

While the study found no evidence to support arguments against mandatory helmet legislation, it outlined they are not a silver bullet to cycling injuries.

"Any comprehensive cycling safety strategy should consider the promotion or legislation of bicycle helmets only in concert with other injury prevention strategies," the study said.

Lead author Jake Olivier presented the study's findings at an international injury prevention conference in Finland.

The latest study comes after years of debate about bike helmets.

A study by Canadian researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia in 2015 found no link between compulsory bicycle helmets and head injuries.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon