Last year I went into some detail about why existing research into the efficacy and safety of helmets for cycling does not come close to the standard of evidence that is normally required and which we would usually demand for a medical intervention (which is what they are). Basically an application to helmets of all those things that Ben Goldacre bangs on about. But I never added an easy to link to contents page when it was complete. So here it is.
Killer Cures: a very brief introduction to why it is so important to do proper thorough research on medical interventions.
So what’s the best evidence we have on bicycle helmets?: a brief review of the research that has been performed on helmet efficacy — how it was done, what it found, and what the limitations of the methods were.
Headline figures: putting the relative risk figures reported by research papers into context of absolute risk.
What is a bicyclist?: looking at one of the major flaws in existing research on helmet efficacy — ignoring the differences between transport, leisure and sport cycling.
Would a helmet help if hit by a car?: a brief diversion into one of the side-arguments, but an important one given that most transport and leisure cycling deaths and serious injuries involve a motor vehicle.
Risk compensation and bicycle helmets: why it’s important to test for potential side-effects of interventions, some of the proposed side-effects, and why the research in this area also has too many limitations.
The BMA, the BMJ, and bicycle helmet policy: introducing the BMA’s position on helmets. Just one of several organisations with a dodgy position, but one that I think is particularly important/interesting.
How did the BMA get bicycle helmets so wrong?: a sort of conclusion piece, reiterating the importance of doing proper research on both the efficacy and the side-effects of medical interventions, and how an organisation which should know better managed to abandon this principle in favour of anecdotes for helmets.
Followed by some frivolous posts:
- Appendix: Bad Science Bingo in the BMA’s “safe cycling” pages
- Won’t somebody please think of the children?
- Prevention and cure
- Who are all these self-harming Dutch helmet wearers?