All entries for July 2005

July 22, 2005

Confidence in doctors fading

Writing about Discussion Primer: More evidence of the appaling state of the NHS from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

More about my remark

"The BMA's wish to make everything that they guess is unhealthy illegal is evidence of their bizarre approach."

I'm disturbed by the BMA's support for compulsory wearing of helmets by cyclists. Reports of the debate say that the arguments used in favour of compulsion were emotionally charged and factually incorrect. A trasnscript is at link

The claim that helmet wearing significantly alters the risk of injury whilst cycling is just not evidence based. A fair number of studies have been made, but those which reached conclusions in support of that claim have not withstood rigorous analysis. See link

There is, however, evidence that campaigns to persuade people to wear helmets put people off cycling. Typically the campaigners exaggerate the dangers of cycling to scare people into using helmets, but the main result is that people are scared off cycling. Helmet laws in Australia resulted in large decreases in the number of people cycling. Child cycling fell by 30% to 50%. Cycling by secondary school children in Sydney was almost destroyed, falling by 91%. As cycling brings considerable benefits to people's health, a case can thus be made that campaigns to promote helmet use are AGAINST the public interest.


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