As discussed earlier, New Zealand and Australia are the two countries that required people of all age to wear a bicycle helmet at all time. There is no federal law in the U.S requiring bicycle helmets. The states are localities began adopting laws in 1987. Most are limited to children under 18. Some states have passed the law regarding to MHL but are repealed later. Israel experimented with national legislation, but repealed the law in 2011 after a four year trial. Here are some of the objectives against MHL:
- They do not improve injury rates
- Discourage regular recreation exercise in an era of high obesity
- Intrusion of individual freedom
There are studies that have proven that the Mandatory Helmet Laws has not reduced head injury rates. Dr Dorothy Robinson from the University of New England, who found ‘enforced helmet laws discourage cycling but produce no obvious response in percentage of head injuries’.
MHLs change people’s behavior and perception of risk. Some cyclists take more risks while riding with a helmet than they would without, while studies have shown that some motorists drive closer to helmeted cyclists, than unhelmeted ones. This tendency for individuals to react to a perceived increase in safety by taking more risk is known as risk compensation.
I am not encouraging people not to wear a bicycle helmet but rather to provide an insight on why some countries do not require MHL, and why people hated MHL. What are your thoughts on this? Below is a collection of tweets that included #helmet laws