Evaluation of New Zealand's bicycle helmet law

N Z Med J. 2012 Feb 10;125(1349):60-9.

Abstract

The New Zealand helmet law (all ages) came into effect on 1 January 1994. It followed Australian helmet laws, introduced in 1990-1992. Pre-law (in 1990) cyclist deaths were nearly a quarter of pedestrians in number, but in 2006-09, the equivalent figure was near to 50% when adjusted for changes to hours cycled and walked. From 1988-91 to 2003-07, cyclists' overall injury rate per hour increased by 20%. Dr Hillman, from the UK's Policy Studies Institute, calculated that life years gained by cycling outweighed life years lost in accidents by 20 times. For the period 1989-1990 to 2006-2009, New Zealand survey data showed that average hours cycled per person reduced by 51%. This evaluation finds the helmet law has failed in aspects of promoting cycling, safety, health, accident compensation, environmental issues and civil liberties.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / instrumentation
  • Accident Prevention / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Adolescent
  • Bicycling / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Bicycling / trends
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Civil Rights
  • Environment
  • Government Regulation*
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Walking / trends
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control