A controversial report claiming helmets increase cyclists' injuries has been rubbished by experts.

The Evaluation of New Zealand's Bicycle Helmet Law report published in today's New Zealand Medical Journal also says forcing cyclists to wear helmets has contributed to 53 premature deaths each year and halved the number of cyclists on the roads.

But an academic and cycle advocate have separately said it was "a stretch" to say the helmet law, which came into effect in 1994, was solely responsible for those findings.

In the report, UK cycle coach Colin Clarke, compiled numerous New Zealand sources to question whether a mandatory cycle helmet requirement was the "best approach to promoting health and safety".

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