A Distorted Paradigm: Helmet Legislation Among Youth Detracts from a Comprehensive Attitude Towards Safety
Thursday, December 27 2007 @ 01:48 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
As H. L. Mencken would say, for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. This paper contends that helmet legislation as the primary thrust and cornerstone of bicycle safety campaigns among youth is a cookie cutter solution for three primary reasons. First, it misplaces the focus of campaigns and detracts from other safety behaviors. Second, it is an individual-level intervention that ignores a range of societal and structural factors that increase bicycle safety. Finally, it fails to take into account the importance of youth attitudes and social dynamics as important behavioral determinants. The overall effect is a myopic paradigm with which bicycle safety is approached, and this has harmful consequences for the overall aim of campaigns.