Freakonomics » Do Bike-Helmet Laws Discourage Bicycling?

Helmets live and prevent brain injuries, no question. But do helmets make cycling seem unnecessarily dangerous? Does the helmet- hassle factor discourage you from riding your bike?

The helmet is a pssive safety device. More important is how you handle yourself in traffic? Are you predictable, visible, assertive? Where’s the helmet most important? Children and the bike path where low speeds and unpredictable conflicts make falls more likely than cruising down the shoulder of the local highway.–Corrie

In a new working paper called “The Intended and Unintended Effects of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws” (abstract here; pdf here), Christopher S. Carpenter and Mark Stehr offer a surprising conclusion: while mandatory helmet laws have led to increased helmet use, and while helmet use has been shown to reduce bicycle fatalities, such laws also seem to lead to a decrease in actual bike riding.

via Freakonomics » Do Bike-Helmet Laws Discourage Bicycling?.

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