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Clinical and legal issues associated with the use of cycle helmets

Clinical and legal issues associated with the use of cycle helmets Purpose – This paper aims to be a review of the clinical and legal issues surrounding the wearing of cycle helmets. It explains how helmets work, the standards currently in place and arguments for and against their protective value. It then considers how this clinical and actuarial data has been interpreted in case law and in particular the issue of contributory negligence. Design/methodology/approach – A search of scientific databases and public search engines was used to review the relevant literature up to August 2012. Findings – There is conflicting evidence for the protective value of cycle helmets. Some researchers have found helmets to protect against head and facial injuries. Others have criticised the research methods used and questioned whether helmets can protect the wearer from the most damaging types of head injury. No trial judge has yet found a case for contributory negligence on the part of a cyclist not wearing a helmet. Research limitations/implications – Research cannot use randomised control trials and is limited to other methodologies. Further work should focus on a range of aspects of safer cycling including cyclist and driver safety awareness along with comparing the safety factors of existing designs and developing better helmet design. Cyclists may wish to consider wearing a helmet to avoid claims for contributory negligence in the future. Originality/value – This paper combines both the clinical and legal debate surrounding cycle helmet use. The paper will better inform clinicians, members of the legal profession, members of Government responsible for introducing legislation, helmet designers/manufacturers and individuals wishing to make an informed decision about helmet use. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Care and Neurodisability Emerald Publishing

Clinical and legal issues associated with the use of cycle helmets

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2042-0919
DOI
10.1108/20420911211286551
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to be a review of the clinical and legal issues surrounding the wearing of cycle helmets. It explains how helmets work, the standards currently in place and arguments for and against their protective value. It then considers how this clinical and actuarial data has been interpreted in case law and in particular the issue of contributory negligence. Design/methodology/approach – A search of scientific databases and public search engines was used to review the relevant literature up to August 2012. Findings – There is conflicting evidence for the protective value of cycle helmets. Some researchers have found helmets to protect against head and facial injuries. Others have criticised the research methods used and questioned whether helmets can protect the wearer from the most damaging types of head injury. No trial judge has yet found a case for contributory negligence on the part of a cyclist not wearing a helmet. Research limitations/implications – Research cannot use randomised control trials and is limited to other methodologies. Further work should focus on a range of aspects of safer cycling including cyclist and driver safety awareness along with comparing the safety factors of existing designs and developing better helmet design. Cyclists may wish to consider wearing a helmet to avoid claims for contributory negligence in the future. Originality/value – This paper combines both the clinical and legal debate surrounding cycle helmet use. The paper will better inform clinicians, members of the legal profession, members of Government responsible for introducing legislation, helmet designers/manufacturers and individuals wishing to make an informed decision about helmet use.

Journal

Social Care and NeurodisabilityEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 16, 2012

Keywords: Bicycles; Safety measures; Head (anatomy); Injuries; Brain; Cycle helmets; Contributory negligence; Head injury; Brain injury

References