torsdag 8 mars 2012

Dorothy Robinson, helmet law analyst

Dorothy Robinson is a statistician and has fought the Australian bicycle helmet laws for a long time. In 1996, she had an article about bicycle helmets published in the peer-reviewed journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. She showed that when helmet-wearing dramatically increased in conjunction with helmet laws, the percentage of head injuries among injured cyclists did not fall. Instead it trends slowly downward at the same pace as head injuries among motorists and pedestrians. She had another similar article published in the British Medical Journal ten years later.

Cycle helmets – an overview

The interesting part is that whenever people argue about helmets, Ms Robinson's simple argument is often missed. Instead people get lost in details about which studies are at fault. The studies are mostly not that bad, it's just that science gives different answers to different questions. The pro-helmet argument is that head injuries are less common among those wearing helmets. Few people make this distinction, that the studies are asking different questions.

This is apparent even in a one-hour radio documentary from ABC. They go into the most esoteric arguments about diffuse axonal injuries, but say nothing about Ms Robinson's simple and irrefutable before-and-after findings.

Happy women's day Ms. Robinson!

No clear evidence from countries that have enforced the wearing of helmets - British Medical Journal
In contrast to the fall in all road injuries in South Australia coinciding with helmet legislation, percentages of cyclists with concussion and other head or face injuries show generally declining trends, especially for concussion, but no clear response when helmet wearing increased substantially.

Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws - Accident Analysis & Prevention

Dorothy ROBINSON. NSW Department of Primary Industries

The bicycle helmet laws - ABC Background Briefing

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