January 14, 2016
The December 2015 edition of the journal, Injury Epidemiology , is likely to reignite a bicycle law debate that took place throughout California earlier this year. The debate centered on bicycle helmets, which are mentioned in the state’s Vehicle Code Section 21212, Subsection A through F3 as well as Penal Code Section 1463. Presently, it only impacts minors and their parents or legal guardians.
Some fractions of the government and general public would like to see the law expanded whereas others prefer it be done away with altogether. Those that push for expansion want the a fore mentioned bicycle law to include cyclists of all ages. Those opposed, generally find the bicycle law in question, meaningless. Ironically, at the crux of each side’s argument are scientific studies that have been circulating in America for decades.
As a whole, the opposing studies focus on the cause and effect of bicycle accidents as well as mention preventive measures. Some studies, like the one published in a 2015 edition of Injury Prevention indicate that mandatory or voluntary bicycle helmet use is not as effective as safety experts once believed. Others, including a 2015 piece in Emergency Medicine Australasia, cite data to the contrary. As such, they are often used by proponents of bicycle laws.
So which bicycle accident studies are to be believed? Unfortunately, study veracity depends on numerous factors which many on each side of the argument tend to gloss over for argument’s sake. What both sides can agree on is to keep the portion of the bicycle law intact as it pertains to children. This consensus is largely related to the sheer volume of cycling related injuries among minors.