In a poll carried out by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) doctors say that wearing a bicycle helmet should not be mandatory, reports the Telegraph.
More than two thirds of BMJ readers said they opposed compulsory helmets for adults, fearing that if people are forced to wear helmets they may give up cycling altogether and lose the health benefits of regular exercise.
One respondent in the poll of 1,427 people said: “It gives out the message that cycling is dangerous, which it is not. The evidence that cycling helmets work to reduce injury is not conclusive.
“What has, however, been shown is that laws that make wearing helmets compulsory decrease cycling activity. Cycling is a healthy activity and cyclists live longer on average than non-cyclists.”
Another said: “Since nowhere with a helmet law can show any reduction in risk to cyclists, only a reduction in cyclists, why would anyone want to bring in a law for something which is clearly not effective at reducing the risk to cyclists?”
Wearing a helmet has been a legal requirement in Australia since 1991 but Sydney University researchers have called for the law to be repealed, arguing that the fall in head injuries was down to road safety improvements, rather than the law. They cited figures from Western Australia which suggested that the legislation led to a 30% drop in cycling rates.
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