The effectiveness of helmets in reducing head injuries and hospital treatment costs: a multicentre study

Michael M Dinh, Kate Curtis and Rebecca Ivers
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11580
Published online: 20 May 2013

To the Editor: Debate continues regarding the health benefits and consequences of helmet use in pedal cyclists.1 Australia is one of few countries in the world with mandatory helmet laws for both pedal cyclists and motorcyclists. To place the protective effect of helmets in pedal cyclists into perspective, we report on the relationship between helmet use and head injury severity in a retrospective cohort of both pedal cyclists and motorcyclists.

  • 1 Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 St George Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, NSW.


We acknowledge the work of Mary Lam from the University of Sydney and Kendall Bein from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for cost and data analysis. We also thank the trauma data managers and trauma coordinators from the major trauma centres who submitted data for the original study.

Competing interests:

Kate Curtis was supported by a Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellowship. Funding support was provided by the NSW Institute of Injury and Trauma Management and St George Honda Trauma and Critical Care Research Program. Rebecca Ivers was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship. The study sponsors had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, or the writing of the manuscript.

  • 1. O’Reilly M. Helmet crackdown makes no sense. The Age (Melbourne) 2012; 22 Mar. http://www.theage (accessed Oct 2012).
  • 2. Dinh MM, Roncal S, Green TC, et al. Trends in head injuries and helmet use in cyclists at an inner city major trauma centre, 1991–2010. Med J Aust 2010; 193: 619-620. <MJA full text>
  • 3. Amoros E, Chiron M, Martin J-L, et al. Bicycle helmet wearing and the risk of head, face, and neck injury: a French case–control study based on a road trauma registry. Inj Prev 2012; 18: 27-32.
  • 4. Olivier J, Walter SR, Grzebieta RH. Long term bicycle related head injury trends for New South Wales Australia following mandatory helmet legislation. Accid Anal Prev 2013; 50: 1128-1134.
  • 5. Liu BC, Ivers R, Norton R, et al. Helmets for preventing injury in motorcycle riders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008; (1): CD004333.


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