Are bicycle helmets actually helpful? Although some statistics show that they can reduce head injuries, there are plenty of people who question whether they deter people from riding their bikes, which is bad for the environment and bad for one’s health — and paradoxically, can make bicycling even more dangerous.
A new report by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that there is a lack of substantial data on the effect of bike helmets on injuries. The report does find, however, that in the U.S., kids and teenagers ride less in places with helmet laws. And with fewer people on the road, it makes it harder to develop a safe bicycling network, The Atlantic points out. “The safest biking cities are places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where middle-aged commuters are mainstay riders and the fraction of adults in helmets is minuscule,” it quotes The New York Times.