Comment 81794

By DigitalCyclist (registered) | Posted October 17, 2012 at 08:13:11

It's really good to see a reasoned discussion on this issue, rather than the usual venting or anecdotal "evidence" put forward in blogs (and newspapers!).

The difference between odds ratios and relative risk is quite significant in this particular study.

Here's a different take, looking at relative risk.

According to statistically robust research published by Share the Road in April 2012, 4% of Ontarians cycle daily (let's say 300 rides/year) and another 25% cycle weekly or monthly (let's say 25 rides/year). With Ontario's population of 12.8 million, that gives us approximately 1.17 billion bicycle rides over the 5 year period of the Coroner's study.

In that 5 year period, 77 cyclists died from head injuries sustained in a bicycle crash of some sort. That gives us a probability of a cyclist dying of a head injury on any given ride of approximately 1 in 15,000,000.

Wearing a helmet might (depending on severity of crash) reduce that probability, based on Dr. Persaud's study, to 1 in 45,000,000. (applying his odds ratio)

In comparison, in Canada, about 10 people die from lightning strikes every year. That's a chance of being killed by lightning of 1 in 3,300,000.

So, on any given day when you go for a bike ride without a helmet, your chance of being killed by lightning is about 5 times greater than being killed by a head injury sustained in a bike crash. (inappropriately putting the risk into an odds ratio).

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