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Costs and benefits of a bicycle helmet law for Germany


  • Gernot Sieg

    () (Institute of Transport Economics, Muenster)


This study presents a cost-benefit analysis of a law requiring cyclists to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle in Germany. The cost benefit-analysis takes into account the benefit of increased security when cyclists wear a helmet or use a transport mode that is less risky than cycling. The analysis also considers the cost of purchasing helmets, reduced fitness when cycling is replaced by a motorized transport mode, the discomfort of wearing helmets and environmental externalities. The benefits of a helmet law are estimated at about 0.7 of the costs. A bicycle helmet law for Germany is found to be a waste of resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Gernot Sieg, 2014. "Costs and benefits of a bicycle helmet law for Germany," Working Papers 21, Institute of Transport Economics, University of Muenster, revised May 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:mut:wpaper:21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher S. Carpenter & Mark Stehr, 2011. "Intended and Unintended Consequences of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 305-324.
    2. Bert Wee & Piet Rietveld, 2013. "Using value of statistical life for the ex ante evaluation of transport policy options: a discussion based on ethical theory," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 295-314, February.
    3. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Chen, Cynthia, 2004. "TTB or not TTB, that is the question: a review and analysis of the empirical literature on travel time (and money) budgets," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 38(9-10), pages 643-675.
    4. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas, 2012. "The value of time and external benefits in bicycle appraisal," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 673-683.
    5. Cavill, Nick & Kahlmeier, Sonja & Rutter, Harry & Racioppi, Francesca & Oja, Pekka, 2008. "Economic analyses of transport infrastructure and policies including health effects related to cycling and walking: A systematic review," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 291-304, September.
    6. Broadstock, David C. & Collins, Alan, 2010. "Measuring unobserved prices using the structural time-series model: The case of cycling," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 195-200, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. van Wee, Bert & Börjesson, Maria, 2015. "How to make CBA more suitable for evaluating cycling policies," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 117-124.

    More about this item


    bicycle helmets; cost-benefit analysis; helmet law;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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