Intended and Unintended Consequences of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws
More than 20 states have adopted laws requiring youths to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. We confirm previous research indicating that these laws reduced fatalities and increased helmet use, but we also show that the laws significantly reduced youth bicycling. We find this result in standard two-way fixed-effects models of parental reports of youth bicycling and in triple-difference models of self-reported bicycling among high school youths that explicitly account for bicycling by youths just above the age threshold of the helmet law. Our results highlight important intended and unintended consequences of a well-intentioned public policy.
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