Originally Posted by billy.fish
Personally i dont think people give enoough room to a cyclist helmeted or not. So i dont see that side of the argument.
A study has been done on it and found that drivers do drive closer to cyclists who are wearing helmets.
There are more solid arguments in it too:
Compulsory helmet wearing has been shown to reduce the number of cyclists on the road, either because they can't be bothered complying with the law, for fashion reasons, or because it gives the impression that cycling is more dangerous than it actually is.
It has been shown that as the number of cyclists on the road increases, then the number of accidents proportionally decreases as motorists are more aware of cyclists and give them more due regard. Likewise as the number of cyclists decreases, the number of accidents shoots up.
Thus, even if helmets do reduce the risk at an individual level, enacting compulsory helmet use will result in an increase in cyclist injuries and fatalities in general.
Additionally, studies with children have shown that children who wear helmets are less risk-averse than those who don't. This is obviously because they feel more protected when wearing a helmet. Children who wear a helmet are *more* likely to end up injured than children who don't because they take greater risks.
You can logically extend this to adults and an adult who wears a helmet is more likely to take risks than one who doesn't.
Basically, compulsory helmet use would result in a whole pile of net losses for cycling in general. More people will be killed and injured.