The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of helmet wearing and the New Zealand helmet wearing law on serious head injury for cyclists involved in on-road motor vehicle and non-motor vehicle crashes. The study population consisted of three age groups of cyclists (primary school children (ages 5-12 years), secondary school children (ages 13-18 years), and adults (19+ years)) admitted to public hospitals between 1988 and 1996. Data were disaggregated by diagnosis and analysed using negative binomial regression models. Results indicated that there was a positive effect of helmet wearing upon head injury and this effect was relatively consistent across age groups and head injury (diagnosis) types. We conclude that the helmet law has been an effective road safety intervention that has lead to a 19% (90% CI: 14, 23%) reduction in head injury to cyclists over its first 3 years.