US government drops claim that helmets reduce 85% of head injuries

The US government has dropped its claim that bicycle helmets reduce 85% of head injuries. The claim came from “research” conducted by helmet advocates in 1989. Many researchers have tried to replicate its results, but have been unable to do so. Amid severe criticism, the authors had to re-work their data, and arrived at a lower effectiveness rate.

This invalid claim is often quoted by people eager to push helmets. The US government had quoted the claim on its web site.

In 2013,  the US Department of Transportation agreed to delete the claim. This followed a petition lodged under the Federal Data Quality Act. The Data Quality Act requires information on federal web sites to be accurate and supported by appropriate research.

This was first reported by the Washington Area Bicyclsists Association. This followed its successful campaign against a bicycle helmet law in Maryland in early 2013.

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6 thoughts on “US government drops claim that helmets reduce 85% of head injuries”

  1. It would make me very happy if all bicycle helmets and bicycle helmet laws disappeared, however I’m sure some good will come out of all this nonsense in the end. It has been a very frustrating 20 or more years of pushbike helmet laws in mainly in Australia and New Zealand with no light at the end of the tunnel, until recently:
    http://www.waba.org/blog/2013/06/feds-withdraw-claim-that-bike-helmets-are-85-percent-effective/
    http://crag.asn.au/2879#comment-1763

  2. Bike share schemes cannot operate successfully in countries, states or cities with compulsory bicycle helmet laws. Dallas, Texas recently repealed it’s adult bicycle helmet law. Mexico City has also repealed its bicycle helmet law to allow bike share schemes to operate.

  3. Bicycle helmet laws make bike share schemes unworkable, causing them to fail, like the one in Auckland. Pushbike helmet laws have caused bike share schemes in Melbourne and Brisbane to perform poorly. Their performance is less than 10 percent compared to bike share schemes in countries and states without a helmet law. The only reason these bike share schemes survive is because they are funded by the taxpayer or ratepayer.

  4. Pushbike helmet laws reduce the number of people cycling, and leads to less demand for better, safer conditions for cycling. This is bad for public health because of a lack of exercise and a huge increase in obesity related diseases. It is bad for the environment, due to an increase in pollution, noise and congestion from motor vehicles. Compulsory bicycle helmet laws reduce the quality of life. There have been no benefits from mandatory helmet laws.

  5. Bicycle helmet laws reduce the quality in many ways without any improvement in safety. The 85% figure is a lie! SCRAP THIS EVIL LAW!

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