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Alcohol more significant than helmets in determining head injury

A study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine has failed to "find significance in relative risk of cycling without a helmet". Instead, it suggests a link between alcohol use and cycling injuries, and proposes harsher laws and penalties (such as the vehicular-related "driving while intoxicated") to cyclists.

Cyclists who use alcohol are more prone to injury, less likely to have health insurance, and more likely to incur hospital charges. They are also less likely to wear helmets, but that was not found to be in itself a significant factor as to whether they incurred head or brain injury.

It has been suggested that the study was established to prove the case for a helmet law in Austin, Texas. A news release in 2008 on GoodHealth.com said that the study was being extended by a further year to prove the benefit of helmets. This news release was withdrawn when Australian statistician Dorothy Robinson challenged in a letter to the journal the basis for the authors' assertion that laws should be passed requiring cyclists to wear helmets. Such an assertion is not supported in any way by the outcomes of the research.

Sun 3 Jan 2010

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