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Cycling is good for health, recreation, and transportation,1 however there is concern that these benefits may be partially offset by the risk of injury to cyclists. UK police reports show that in 2004 134 cyclists were killed, and 2174 severely injured. Of these 577 were children; 300 of primary school age.2 Thirty four percent of cyclists who required admission to hospital had sustained a head injury of these half were children. One percent of cyclists admitted with a head injury died as a result.3
Using cycle helmets prevents injury and death from head injury as demonstrated overwhelmingly in a Cochrane review. It showed that helmets reduced the risk of head injury by 85% and risk of brain injury by 88%.4 Helmets are particularly important for children as they suffer the majority of serious head injury.5,6 The problem is persuading children to wear helmets—most primary school children ride a bike but only around half own a helmet and only 29–44% always wear one.7,8
The literature shows that a combination of legislation and education is most effective at increasing helmet usage in children.9–11 Although the UK government has removed value added tax from …
Competing interests: none.
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