According to a recent study published in CMAJ, cyclists who died of a head injury were three times as likely to not be wearing a helmet compared with those who died of other injuries.
"We saw an association between dying as a result of sustaining head injury and not wearing a helmet," states Dr. Navindra Persaud, Keenan Research Centre and the Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, with coauthors. "These results are consistent with a protective effect of helmets on cycling deaths."
There is scant evidence on the relationship between helmet use and fatal head injuries.
Cycling deaths account for more than 2% of traffic fatalities, and every week in Canada a cyclist dies. Although there are regulations regarding helmet use, they vary across the country, and there is controversy over whether helmets prevent injury and death.
"While legislating helmet use is controversial and inconsistent in Canada, our study shows that wearing helmets saves lives," says Persaud. "Policies and campaigns that promote helmet use may decrease cycling mortality."