MANDATORY WEAR OF HELMETS FOR THE ELITE CATEGORY :
The International Cycling Union (UCI) announces that as from 5 May 2003 it will be mandatory to wear a hard shell helmet in Elite Men's events for classes 4 and above.
This decision was taken in agreement with all parties represented in the Professional Cycling Council : Sports Group Associations (AIGCP), Races Organisers Associations (AIOCC) and the Professional Riders Associations (CPA), who supports this initiative although some divergences have been expressed by some of its members.
Underlining however that this decision has received full support from its principal leaders in the field, the UCI is conscious that a small number of riders invoke the "individual freedom" to oppose the obligation to wear a helmet. Whilst respecting their opinion, the UCI invites them to reflect on the consequences this attitude can generate.
Death or disability of a rider in fact represents a great sourceor sorrow for close ones and also a great loss for cycling. The fact that the rider takes the risk in all "freedom" will never take away the discomfort linked to such tragedies.
Demands from a small group of individuals should not prevail on the general interest of the sport and its followers: it is with this conviction that the UCI presents today the amendments to the regulations concerning the obligation to wear a helmet, confident that all riders will carefully observe it.
Reduction In Fatalities
In 2008, as part of a report for the UK Department Of Transport, "A specialist biomechanical assessment of over 100 police forensic cyclist fatality reports predicted that between 10 and 16% could have been prevented if they had worn an appropriate cycle helmet."
There are several meta-analyses and reviews which synthesize and evaluate the results of multiple case-control studies. A Cochrane review of case-control studies of bicycle helmets by Thompson et al. found that "helmets provide a 63 to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are reduced 65%.".
A 2001 meta-analysis of sixteen studies by Attewell et al. found that, compared to helmeted cyclists, unhelmeted cyclists were 2.4 times more likely to sustain a brain injury; 2.5 times more likely to sustain a head injury; and 3.7 times more likely to sustain a fatal injury.
A 2012 re-analysis of the 16 studies in the Attewell meta-analysis, by Elvik, found that, compared to helmeted cyclists, unhelmeted cyclists were 2.5 times more likely to sustain a brain injury; 2.3 times more likely to sustain a head injury; and 4.3 times more likely to sustain a fatal injury.[a] When 5 new head-injury studies were added to the model, Elvik found that unhelmeted cyclists were 1.9 times more likely than helmeted cyclists to sustain a head injury. When head, face and neck injuries were combined, Elvik found that unhelmeted cyclists were 1.4 times more likely than helmeted cyclists to sustain an injury to the head, face or neck. The odds ratio for brain injuries reported by Elvik (95% CI 0.33-0.50) is consistent with the odds ratios using hospital controls reported in the Cochrane review (0.05-0.57 for brain injury and 0.14-0.48 for severe brain injury). In noting that the results of the meta-analysis were inconsistent with the results of the Cochrane review, Elvik may have been referring just to the head injury results (95% CI 0.26-0.37 in the Cochrane review; in Elvik's meta-analysis, 0.38-0.48 using the studies in the Attewell analysis, 0.49-0.59 when 8 new studies were included).
TRL Report PPR 446
The Potential for Cycle Helmets to
Prevent Injury: A Review of the Evidence
There has been much debate in the literature and elsewhere regarding cycle helmets and their
potential to prevent injury. This cycle helmet safety research report was commissioned to
provide a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of cycle helmets in the event of an on-
road accident, building on previous work undertaken for the Department for Transport (Towner
., 2002). The programme of work evaluates the effectiveness of cycle helmets from several
perspectives, including a review of current test Standards; a biomechanical investigation
of their potential limitations; a review of recent literature; and finally an assessment of the
casualties that could be prevented if cycle helmets were more widely used.
Assuming that cycle helmets are a good fit and worn correctly, they should be effective at reducing the
risk of head injury, in particular cranium fracture, scalp injury and intracranial (brain) injury.
Cycle helmets would be expected to be effective in a range of accident conditions, particularly:
the most common accidents that do not involve a collision with another vehicle, often simple
falls or tumbles over the handlebars; and also
when the mechanism of injury involves another vehicle glancing the cyclist or tipping them over
causing their head to strike the ground.
A specialist biomechanical assessment of over 100 police forensic cyclist fatality reports predicted
that between 10 and 16% could have been prevented if they had worn an appropriate cycle helmet.
Of the on-road serious cyclist casualties admitted to hospital in England (HES database):
10% suffered injuries of a type and to a part of the head that a cycle helmet may have mitigated
or prevented; and a further
20% suffered ‘open wounds to the head’, some of which are likely to have been to a part of the
head that a cycle helmet may have mitigated or prevented.