Mandatory bicycle helmet laws should be maintained and enforced as part of overall road safety strategies, according to a study outlined in a letter to the editor in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Michael Dinh, Emergency Physician and Co-Director of the Department of Trauma Services at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH), Sydney, and co-authors reviewed a study conducted by the RPAH that summarised long-term trends in cyclist head injuries and determined the odds of any skull fracture or intracranial bleed associated with not wearing a helmet.
AdvertisementThe study reviewed patients from 1991 to 2009 over the age of 16 who were admitted to the hospital trauma unit suffering from head injuries related to a bicycle incident on public roads. The number of cyclists sustaining severe head injuries has remained consistently low over the long term, with an apparent decline in the rate of severe head injuries in admitted patients since 2005.
Dr Dinh said that among 287 patients for whom information about helmet use was available between 2008 and 2010, non-helmet wearers had five times higher odds of developing intracranial bleeding or sustaining a skull fracture due to falling from a bicycle compared with helmet wearers.
"It is the opinion of the trauma service at the RPAH . . . that mandatory bicycle helmet laws be maintained and enforced as part of overall road safety strategies."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.