Cycle helmet laws are old hat here in New Zealand. But what are the effects of such laws? There is a new NBER working paper out that looks at the Effects of Bicycle Helmet Laws on Children's Injuries. The paper is by Pinka Chatterji and Sara Markowitz and the abstract reads:
Cycling is popular among children, but results in thousands of injuries annually. In recent years, many states and localities have enacted bicycle helmet laws. We examine direct and indirect effects of these laws on injuries. Using hospital-level panel data and triple difference models, we find helmet laws are associated with reductions in bicycle-related head injuries among children. However, laws also are associated with decreases in non-head cycling injuries, as well as increases in head injuries from other wheeled sports. Thus, the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws.So the effects of the helmet laws may just to be stop kids riding bicycles. Which I guess was not the intended purpose. The law of unintended consequences again.