|Year of selection||2009|
|Institution||INSERM Institut Santé Publique|
Type of support
43 220 €
Road Safety – Does wearing a helmet really protect cyclists?
For most people, riding a bike in an urban setting can be dangerous. Despite the risks, many people still decide to ride a bike without a helmet. There are a number of reasons why people decide not to wear a helmet:
- The discomfort can be discouraging;
- Some believe that other safety measures are more effective such as having bike paths or having lower speed limits for cars;
- Cyclists who wear helmets may actually adopt riskier behavior on the road.
As a post-doctoral fellow at Inserm on an AXA grant, Dr. Aymery Constant studied the behaviors of over 1,500 volunteer cyclists in Bordeaux using an innovative video detection system in order to assess habits related to risk as well as the effectiveness of strategies to encourage the use of helmets. “Does wearing a helmet increase the likelihood of taking risks? We felt it was necessary to observe the cyclists in this situation, both for those who generally wear a helmet, and for those who had been made aware of the risks associated with not wearing a helmet. Based on these studies, we discovered that making them aware of the risks had a low impact on helmet-wearing, and that even this low impact dissipates within six months. On the other hand, wearing a helmet did not lead to an adjustment of their behavior. This proves the need for more regular education about the risks and an increase other regular preventative actions.”
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