A study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health suggests that novice male cyclists go faster when they're wearing a helmet. The study, which tracked the speed of 587 French riders over two years, found that men were likely to ride 1.5 miles per hour faster while helmeted. Women also rode slightly faster with helmets, though not at a level that was statistically significant. The study may help confirm what is known as risk compensation theory, in which people behave more dangerously when they know they are protected by safety equipment. The authors said the increase was "unlikely to offset helmet preventive efficacy," however.
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