Crash Test Dummies is a folk/alternative band from Winnipeg, Canada - and they're worth following, if only because their plastic namesakes have done a lot to improve bike (and car) safety.
That's why, when the journal BMJ recently published a study that implied the use of bicycle helmets didn't really matter and it got lots of press, we wondered who the real dummies were. The study reports: Canada's provinces that instituted bicycle helmet legislation saw a 54 percent reduction in hospital admissions for cycling-related head injuries, while provinces without legislation only saw a 33.2 percent reduction.
But that difference in the number of injuries didn't convince the Toronto researchers (who came up with those statistics!) that helmets matter. They figured rates were headed down because of improved motorist awareness and better cycling lanes. HUH?
We think there are more than a few Canadians who disagree with that assessment (such as the 21 percent fewer riders with head injuries), and we do too. Safety-equipment laws have been proven to be effective. Every Canadian province and U.S. state with mandatory helmet laws has seen rates of serious head injuries drop significantly.
Recent crash-test-dummy results in Australia confirm that bicycle helmets are protective and, says that report, "directly counter unsupported claims to the contrary by some anti-helmet cycling campaigners."
Remember, there were anti-seat-belt campaigners too, but the truth won out. So when it comes to bicycle helmets, stay in tune with the crash test dummies and avoid being an unintentional organ donor.
© King Features Syndicate