Children

Bicycle Helmet Laws: Good At Keeping Kids Off Bikes

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A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research by Pinka Chatterji and Sara Markowitz indicates a way that bicycle helmet laws may be creating less bicycle-related head injuries: discouraging getting on the bike in the first place. From the summary:

In recent years, many states and localities have enacted bicycle helmet laws. We examine direct and indirect effects of these laws on injuries. Using hospital-level panel data and triple difference models, we find helmet laws are associated with reductions in bicycle-related head injuries among children. However, laws also are associated with decreases in non-head cycling injuries, as well as increases in head injuries from other wheeled sports. Thus, the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws.

Read Nick Gillespie's Reason classic on the pathologies of "Child-Proofing the World."

Helmet tip for study pointer: Jonathan Grubb.

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82 responses to “Bicycle Helmet Laws: Good At Keeping Kids Off Bikes

  1. I know that if riding my bike would require me to look like a dork, I wouldn’t ride my bike. I’ll bet Hugh rides his all the time.

    1. Hugh rides your bike.

  2. Kids are safer inside playing video games anyway.

    1. Violent video games provide better firearms training for future anti-government radicals, so I fully endorse this ban.

  3. Why not require boys to wear cups at all times?

    1. Everyone should be compelled by law to wear helmet, cup, knee pads, and elbow pads at all times.

      And a mouthpiece. That would greatly reduce of tongue biting injuries.

      1. And *goggles*. Otherwise you could shoot your eye out!

      2. And one of these…with goggles of course.

        http://www.fordogtrainers.com/…..ts_id=2124

        1. That’s stylin’

      3. And chainmail.

  4. So there’s no actual evidence for this claim, and quite a few other plausible explanations that fit the data, but we’ll run with it anyway because WeWantToBelieve.. Welcome to 2012-13 Reason.

    1. and quite a few other plausible explanations that fit the data,

      I personally believe that it’s due to the sequester.

      1. YOU WILL REGRET THAT!!!!!!!!!

    2. You heard it right here, folks. Correlation not only doesn’t mean causation, is apparently can’t mean ANYTHING! ALL INCIDENCES OF CORRELATION MEAN IT MUST BE SOMETHING ELSE.

      1. It’s quantum correlation.

  5. As a long time cyclist, I wear a helmet most of the time. But I commute 20 miles on busy roads and think it’s a good idea.

    However, I oppose helmet laws. When I putz around on light trails away from traffic, I rarely wear one and it’s nobody’s business.

    As for injuries from other wheeled activities… My son ended up in the ER from a high speed skateboard accident. His arms and knees were very badly torn up and he’ll have some permanent scars. His head & face were completely unharmed. But of course the ER nurse scolded him for not wearing a helmet!

    If helmet laws for bikes are a good idea, then maybe we should have them for pedestrians too. The famous diet doc, Dr. Robert Atkins, slipped on the sidewalk, hit his head, and died 9 days later from head injury complications. I guess no one should be allowed to walk without a helmet.

    1. However, I oppose helmet laws. When I putz around on light trails away from traffic, I rarely wear one and it’s nobody’s business.

      I’m paying for your healthcare, it’s my business.

      Understand that, and the entire philosophy behind the Total Healthcare State comes into sharp relief.

      1. Maybe someone should start a campaign against x-games based on that so the kidz will be able to figure out what BS it is.

      2. You’re not paying for my health care yet 🙂 (but I think my employer might dump me into the pool soon)

        Even so, I’ve hit the ground three times in the last 30 years or so. Twice on trails: one time with no injury and one time with a cut knee. The third crash was when I was hit by a car and ended up visiting the hospital.

        This history tells you a couple things:
        1) I’m obviously not an “on the edge” rider or I would have crashed a lot more. Even so, I’m overdue for a big one.
        2) Based on injury history, I should be encouraged to ride on trails without a helmet and banned from riding near roads with one.

        In all seriousness, once the Total Healthcare State is in full bloom, it might be decided that bicycling is simply too dangerous to be allowed. Similarly, individuals driving their own cars might be too dangerous. Thus, we’ll all be forced into government mass transit because it’s for the greater good (and, of course, the kids).

        How far will it go? Should we ban private kitchens? Scalding water, open flames, unregulated food temperatures. Wow, household kitchens might be death traps. Maybe we should all be forced to eat government-approved meals with the kids at the local school.

        Once the state takes over healthcare, they can take over anything.

        1. Liberals already use this rationale in other countries that have UHC. You can’t eat, do, play, etc because your lifestyle costs the collective!

    2. If helmet laws for bikes are a good idea, then maybe we should have them for pedestrians too.

      There was a dude in NJ that tried to push for pedestrian helmet laws for children a few years back after his kid died by tripping on a sidewalk and splitting his head open. Grieving parents are the worst.

  6. Should see all the helmets on ski slopes these days. Folks can do as they wish…

    …but they are still gay.

    NTTAWWT

  7. Sometimes dude, you jsut have to roll with the punches.

    http://www.Anon-Web.da.bz

  8. ‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy!

    Ambridge police say 19-year-old Travis Clawson had an eye appointment scheduled for today. When the receptionist called to confirm, she thought Clawson’s voice message said something to the effect of “I can’t come to the phone right now, because I’m going to kill all the (expletive) at my school.”

    According to the Times-Online, the message was actually him singing part of the theme song to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV sitcom, “shooting some b-ball outside of the school.”

    …The Times-Online says that receptionist called Sewickley police, who then contacted Ambridge school officials. When Ambridge passed the information along to local police, a countywide schools lockdown was ordered because no one knew where Clawson was, and the 911 response system is designed to notify all schools of a situation.

    Ambridge police say they called Clawson back, where he informed them he was in the school guidance office. They surrounded the school, and arrested Clawson. His locker was searched, but police say they didn’t find anything.

    1. Can never be too safe.

    2. How did the eye appointment go?

    3. According to the Times-Online, the message was actually him singing part of the theme song to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV sitcom, “shooting some b-ball outside of the school.”

      The receptionist’s interpretation of the lyrics will be featured in the next version.

    4. They surrounded the school, and arrested Clawson. His locker was searched, but police say they didn’t find anything.

      Nice how the word of a single random person is sufficient reason to kidnap a child and invade his privacy. Did these cops not think to call his phone and check his voicemail for themselves?

      1. Ok, he’s 19. Replace “child” with “person” in my previous post.

  9. The guys 19 and still going to high school? Sort of explains the Fresh Prince answering message in 2013.

  10. Believe or not,
    George isn’t at home,
    please leave a message at the beep.
    I must be out or I’d pick up the phone.
    Where could I be?
    Believe it or not,
    I’m not home.

  11. The bicycle helmet is the official emblem of American sissyhood.

  12. It’s all fun and games until a deer attacks your bike.

    1. Of course in South Africa they have to deal with bike-hating antelope.

      1. Yeah, everyone in South Africa is super afraid of deer…..

        1. They should be. I’ve heard African deer are vicious. Real man-eaters.

    2. Lies! The deer was obviously the victim. I notice the video doesn’t show what happened to the poor fawn.

  13. As somebody who’s still recovering from an accident from a year ago, and would have died without a helmet after being hit by a car, I think you’d have to be an idiot to allow your kid to bike with traffic without a helmet. I’m not supportive of laws I guess but that doesn’t mean individuals should make stupid decisions for their kids.

    I was lucky. I rode for years without a helmet for various reasons but thankfully I had started using one when a car hit me from behind. The fact is, if you get into it with a car and you’re on a bicycle, the car will always win.

    It seems that some people are so determined to rebel against unjust government interference that they make really bad choices for themselves. That’s why we have so many grossly obese people waddling around. Not only are they not going to let the government tell them what to eat, their going to stuff themselves just to assert their freedom to do so.

    1. Hahaha if you eat the way the government has told you to you will get fat. The high carb diet that they taught in school for 40 years is one of the major drivers of the American obesity.

      1. I’m going to have to contest that one. The high carb diet is fine as long as you exercise, eat your vegetables, and get it from worthy sources(i.e, whole wheat bread instead of soda). No one ever told people to down an entire bag of Cheetos.

      2. Uh, most people in the world get the vast majority of their calories from carbs and don’t have an obesity problem.

        1. Eh, portions are definitely a major issue as well as the general lack of exercise. But ceteris paribus, a diet that’s more balanced as opposed to the 10-12 servings of grains a day that I was taught in health class is going to be much better for you. I never said high carb diets were the only issue, but they’re definitely more of a factor then not.

      3. I’m not suggesting people follow the idiotic government suggestions. I’m suggesting people should make an effort to eat food that is nutritious. People eat fast food crap now for their regular meals. That isn’t real food for a regular diet.

        As far as the diet of people outside the US, believe me, as the fast food chains move in, so does the obesity. I’m living in a 3rd world country and there are a lot more fat kids here than we had in the US when I was going to school.

    2. As somebody who’s still recovering from an accident from a year ago, and would have died without a helmet

      Too bad you didn’t.

      1. Woah. Someone sure fell off the wrong side of the bicycle this evening.

    3. “Not only are they not going to let the government tell them what to eat, their going to stuff themselves just to assert their freedom to do so.”

      I wonder if they’d keep stuffing their fat faces–if they didn’t know whether the government was gonna pay for their medical bills once they turned 65.

      And there’s always ridicule. It may not be socially acceptable to make fun of fat people to their faces, but it is a constitutionally protected right.

      Just like telling parents who don’t make their kids wear helmets what you think of them.

      1. Fact: Making fun of fat people to their faces is a Constitutionally protected right.

        I like the sound of that.

    4. I think helmets make sense if you are biking in a city, or on a freeway or something.

      But tooling around the neighborhood? No

      1. “But tooling around the neighborhood? No”

        Obviously a case for OSHA

    5. When I was a kid you could ride without a helmet because there weren’t as many old lady drivers and nobody fucked around with telephones and computer gadgets while driving. Now I have to talk my mom out of getting a blue-tooth enabled phone because she shouldn’t be talking while she’s driving in the first place. As a kid, she wouldn’t let me talk to her in the car while I’m sitting next to her. Now with all the safety gadgets like airbags and warning alerts and cameras she suddenly thinks it’s A-OK to blather while she’s driving even though she’s 40 years older.

  14. The problem I have with libertarians is that they do not understand how wealth is produced. They seem to believe that “the market” does it. The market is only as good as the ecological resources and human capital that is put in it. Shitty human capital * limits on the ecological resources = Africa. Human capital won’t be improved by importing millions of low-IQ Mexicans. Imagine how many we’d import if we had an open border? My estimate would be in the hundreds of millions. What would stop people? And ecological limits exist.

    1. Your knowledge of where economic growth comes from couldn’t fill a thimble.

      “Human capital won’t be improved by importing millions of low-IQ Mexicans.”

      Actually, labor is a resource, and more of it is better.

      If uneducated labor is bad for economic growth, then China must have had the world’s slowest growing economy over the past 20 years.

      P.S. Relative uneducated does not equal “low-IQ”. Your racism is appalling.

      1. The better for whom? The capitalists and those who control the means of production. You want sweatshops here? You want to send our workers to work for 50 cents an hour? And intelligence is innate and highly heritable. Asians are smarter than whites, and whites are smarter than Mexicans.

        1. Why the hell are we overrun with racist trolls all of a sudden. This one actually seems to be a national socialist.

          Or is Mary back on the crazy pills?

          1. Reducto ad hitlerum argument. Many of my best friends are Jews.

        2. “The better for whom?

          The consumers who get the benefit of all that cheap labor.

          The single moms who need someone to watch their kids for cheap.

          Elderly people on fixed incomes who can’t mow their own lawns anymore.

          Besides, we have to be able to do something combat union labor. Otherwise the whole country would turn into a shithole like Detroit.

          1. Detroit looked pretty good when union labor defeated Hitler. It went off the hill when they gave the city to the African community.

            1. Hitler was primarily defeated by his own stupidity and the Soviet Union. Does that mean communism is a great economic system?

              1. At least as great as stupidity.

                Which seems to be our current economic system.

          2. The consumers who get the benefit can’t afford to buy any of the products produced by of all that cheap labor.

            The single moms who need someone to watch their kids for cheap and can’t afford it without welfare.

            1. If Mexicans and blacks are as stupid and uneducated as you think they are, how are they taking jobs from or competing with superior, high-IQ whites? Contrary to the myths believed by you and progressives, employers do not simply try to higher the person who will work for the lowest amount of money.

        3. “And intelligence is innate and highly heritable. Asians are smarter than whites, and whites are smarter than Mexicans.”

          Your racism is disgusting.

          It’s not surprising you know so little about economic growth.

          I’ve never met a smart racist. Never.

          Given your level of knowledge, you probably should be worried about competing with people for work–people who can’t speak English and only have an 8th grade education. But just so you know? Smart people don’t worry about competing with uneducated non-English speakers for work.

          The people who worry about that are mostly methheads, ex-cons, and union members.

          No really.

          1. You’ve met me. I don’t have to compete with messican lawn mowers, no. I do have to deal with the Kenyan idiot they put into power who takes literally tens of thousands of dollars from me every year. You win some, you loose some.

            1. Take away the Hispanic vote, and Romney and McCain both still lose in the electoral college. And both of those guys are still taking tens of thousands of dollars from you every year.

  15. I never wear my helmet when I’m out. Women apparently would rather have me dead than “nerdy,” and some idiot decided we should listen to their opinions.

    1. Women apparently would rather have me dead

      Should’ve just stopped your comment right there.

      1. You deny its truth?

        1. That they’d rather have you dead? Of course not.

          1. I did a quick survey. All of the women around here want him dead.

            1. Ah yes, I see that. Initially there does appear to be ONE woman in the survey who didn’t want him dead, but upon closer inspection it seems that was Merkin in drag.

    2. If you think wearing a helmet is nerdy then you’re doing it wrong.

      1. He probably just doesn’t have large enough spikes on his helmet. I mean if there’s one thing he’s missing, it’s attention-grabbing proof of his manliness.

  16. “Thus, the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws.”

    I’m surprised our prog overlords don’t just lock us all in padded cells, so we can’t hurt ourselves, and keep us all on a dopamine drip.

    Happy and safe.

    Progland is a world designed for retards.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6NABK5IQc0

  17. By pestering kids to wear safety equipment every time they undertake an activity more strenuous than mashing buttons on a game controller, and also organizing the hell out of every activity that can be interfered with by well meaning adults, the nannies have virtually guaranteed that most children will be little butterballs.

    Speaking as someone who has, from time to time in my life, used a bicycle as my primary means of transportation, I have to say that lugging a helmet around when I’m not actually on the bike is a pain in the ass.

    1. Grow really long hair

  18. Looks like Mary’s back.

    1. That’s why God created Reasonable.

  19. I think children should have to wear helmets all of the time. Even in the house. A child could even fall out of bed and hit his head…..

    1. You’ve seen this, right?
      http://www.onestepahead.com/ca…..4AodIjUADw

      1. I know a former couple (they’ve since divorced) who lost their daughter to a nasty fall when she was a toddler.

        A rarity? Sure. But knowing what I know now, I’d have to think long and hard before allowing my toddler to do his toddling on a hardwood floor without protection. I can’t prevent all disasters from befalling my kids, but that’s sure as hell one that I can mitigate.

  20. There is a dude that clearly knows what time it is. Wow.

    http://www.NetAnon.da.bz

  21. I just find it hilarious that some people rebel from common sense protection for no other reason that to assert their independence. There is such a thing as “personal responsibility” that is an intrinsic part of libertarianism.

    So yes, when I ride a bike, I wear a helmet, when I whitewater raft, I wear a life jacket and when I skydive I wear a parachute. I’m a big nerd.

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