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The Helmet Update

Volume 37, #1, February 11, 2019

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Australian study finds all-ages helmet laws have cut cyclist fatalities in half

Three researchers at the University of New South Wales have published a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology examining data from 1971 to 2016 and concluding that Australia's helmet laws have cut cycling fatalities in half.

"Results: Immediately following bicycle helmet legislation, the rate of bicycle fatalities per 1 000 000 population reduced by 46% relative to the pre-legislation trend [95% confidence interval (CI): 31, 58]. For the period 1990-2016, we estimate 1332 fewer cycling fatalities (95% CI: 1201, 1463) or an average of 49.4 per year (95% CI: 44.5, 54.2). Reductions were also observed for pedestrian fatalities; however, bicycle fatalities declined by 36% relative to pedestrian fatalities (95% CI: 12, 54).

Conclusions: In the absence of robust evidence showing a decline in cycling exposure following helmet legislation or other confounding factors, the reduction in Australian bicycle-related fatality appears to be primarily due to increased helmet use and not other factors."

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