In December 2005, an article of massive importance was published in the British Medical Journal. Doctors counted up the number of children being admitted to A&E with musculoskeletal injuries (breaks and sprains — many of which would have been caused by bicycle-related incidents) on summer weekends and discovered a startling pattern. A new preventative intervention was discovered. They authors say:
The figure shows the weekend attendance to our emergency department in June and July between 2003 and 2005. The mean attendance rate for children aged 7-15 years during the control weekends was 67.4 (SD 10.4). For the two intervention weekends the attendance rates were 36 and 37 (mean 36.5, SD 0.7). This represents a significant decrease in attendances on the intervention weekends, as both are greater than two SD from the mean control attendance rate and an unpaired t test gives a t value of 14.2 (P < 0.0001). At no other point during the three year surveillance period was attendance that low. MetOffice data suggested no confounding effect of weather conditions.
From this data on the effect of Harry Potter books on injury rate it should be blindingly obvious that countless lives would be saved if legislation made Harry Potter books compulsory — for children at the very least (we can perhaps allow adults the freedom to choose to turn themselves into dribbling brain damaged wrecks by not reading Harry Potter).
Anybody who cycles while not reading Harry Potter clearly deserves to have their brains smeared across the road. They lack any credibility.
Gwilym, S. (2005). Harry Potter casts a spell on accident prone children. BMJ, 331:1505-1506 doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7531.1505
Further reading: ‘Tis the season, from Language Log.