Public Safety Legislation and the Risk Compensation Hypothesis - the Example of Motorcycle Helmet Legislation

  • Adams J
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Abstract

The 'experiment' in the US in which 28 states in the 1980s repealed their laws which made the wearing of motorcycle helmets compulsory is widely believed to have proved conclusively that helmet legislation is a highly effective public health measure. This belief is examined and found to be open to criticism. The evidence surveyed here suggests that the effect, if any, of helmet legislation on motor cycling fatalities is perverse. The 'risk compensation theory' is proffered as a possible explanation of the available evidence.-from Author

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Authors

  • J G U Adams

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