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Policy statement

Fatalities in cycle sport

Big rise in fatalities as helmets made mandatory

The Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body for international cycle sport, made cycle helmets mandatory on May 5 2003 although helmet use had been increasing voluntarily since the 1990s. However, there have been more fatalities to cyclists in races since implementation of the helmet rule than in any recent decade (Wiki, 1).

Decade 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010-11
Deaths 6 9 2 8 4 4 5 3 10 2

Post compulsion, from May 2003 to 2011 (8.5 years), there have been 9 deaths.

When considering these figures, it should be recognised that medical care has improved greatly over the period and many of the cyclists who died in earlier years may well have survived today. That makes the statistics since 2000 all the more a matter for concern.

Taking more risks

Some commentators have suggested that the apparent protection afforded by helmets has encouraged cyclists to take more risks - a form of risk compensation. Also modern helmets can help to decrease aerodynamic drag by approximately 2% over a rider with no helmet, giving a competitive edge in a bicycle race (Wiki, 2).


Wiki, 1

List of professional cyclists who died during a race. Wikipedia.

Wiki, 2

Compulsory helmet use in cycling sport. Wikipedia, section 2.1.

See also