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Bicycle and Motorcycle Helmets (cont.)

Effectiveness of Helmets

Although the idea that helmets would help reduce injuries and deaths may seem obvious, proof was necessary and it needed to be demonstrated. In addition, the question of whether helmets themselves did not increase the risk of other unforeseen injury needed evaluation.

Researchers into motorcycle safety took advantage of changes in some state laws requiring helmets for all riders, regardless of age. There are no similar laws in the United States applying to all bicycle riders, although many states have laws applying to children.

Studies examining the rates of brain injury and deaths before and after the passage of a mandatory helmet law showed a significant reduction in the number of both head injuries and deaths. The reduction held true even when controlling for age, sex, and severity of crash.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons state that "Wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury and brain injury by 85%."

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