Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a press release about the results of a study regarding the effectiveness of laws that require bicyclists to wear helmets. The data revealed that fewer deaths occurred among youths who were involved in bicycle-motor vehicle crash within those states that had mandatory helmet laws in place.
Researchers set out to determine the efficacy of mandatory bicycle helmet laws in reducing injuries and death rates nationwide by analyzing data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for all U.S. bicyclists. They looked at data for all accidents involving children under the age of sixteen who were either severely injured or died during the period of January 1999 until December 2009. They compared data for states with mandatory laws versus those without.
During the relevant period, a total of 2,451 children suffered incapacitating injuries or died in bicycle-motor vehicle crashes. States with mandatory helmet laws had a lower rate of incapacitating injuries or death at approximately 2 per 1 million, versus 2.5 per 1 million. The associated lower rates held true even after adjusting for certain relevant factors.
Maryland is one of the 21 states that requires bicyclists to wear helmets, which could have a direct impact on residents who bicycle in the DC area.