Is Avoiding Injury Reason Enough to Compel Riders to Wear Bike Helmets?

Jun 19, 2012, 5:45 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

The town of Milton, Wash., has dropped its law requiring that bicyclists wear helmets, according to the New York Times. The town’s mayor supports their use but budget cuts and increased local unrest have reduced police ability to officially warn bareheaded cyclists. And that poses a liability risk if someone is injured and had not gotten a police warning, according to the town’s insurance consultant. The Mayor hopes personal safety will prompt town citizens to ride with their heads protected.

While more than twenty states have helmet laws, the debate about enforcing helmet use continues, in part because cycling advocates fear forcing bikers to wear a helmet could keep many from riding—and getting the benefits of exercise and reduced car use.

Weigh in: What arguments in favor of bike helmets have been effective in your community?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.