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      Summary of
      An Economic Evaluation of the Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Legislation in Western Australia

      by Delia Hendrie, Matthew Legge, Diana Rosman and Carol Kirov

      Road Accident Prevention Research Unit, Department of Public Health,
      The University of Western Australia, Nedlands WA 6907, Australia

      The researchers estimate that helmet legislation in WA has cost A$21.6 million (mostly for helmet purchases) and reductions in the cost of hospital admissions are only in the range of A$11 million to A$23.6 million. If a realistic estimate of the cost of treating a patient admitted with a typical head injury is used, the reduction in cost drops into a range from A$7.6 million to A$15.1 million.

      The most optimistic scenario for Western Australia is a A$2 million dollar net benefit. The real figure more likely is a loss of up to A$14 million.

      The authors state:

        "In monetary terms, it is unlikely that the helmet wearing legislation would have achieved net savings of any sizeable magnitude. Under the assumptions used in the study, the most favourable estimate of the Net Present Value of the bicycle helmet legislation was $2.0 million, and this calculation excluded any costs associated with reduced cycling activity."

      Related sources:

      Impact on Health in WA by Chris Gillham.
      Helmet Laws, Numbers of Cyclists and Accident Rates by Dorothy Robinson.

December 1999
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