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A proposed ordinance requires all cyclists wear a helmet

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A proposed ordinance requires all cyclists wear a helmet [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2014, 21:11
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  25% (medium)

Question Stats:

82% (01:58) correct 18% (01:07) wrong based on 57 sessions
A proposed ordinance requires that all cyclists wear a helmet when riding a bike. However, one cycling enthusiast argued that since more than ninety percent of bike-related accidents do not cause more than a scrape, mandatory helmet use would only marginally decrease the number of serious injuries caused by cycling.

Which of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the cycling enthusiast's argument?

A. Most cyclists do not currently own bike helmets.

B. The cost of buying a proper bike helmet is significantly less than possible medical costs due to injury.

C. Helmets have not proven useful in preventing head trauma in biking accidents since the force of the accident often causes the helmet to fall off.

D. In the city where the ordinance was proposed, the number of injuries due to bike accidents was less than the national average.

E. Most of the serious injuries resulting from bike accidents occur due to head trauma.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: A proposed ordinance requires all cyclists wear a helmet [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2014, 21:03
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This question is a good example of a trick that is very common within GMAT critical reasoning questions. The question includes a subtle but very important scope shift. The cycling enthusiast argues that most bicycle accidents are minor (do not cause more than a scrape), and therefore mandatory helmet use would only marginally decrease the number of serious injuries caused by cycling. The scope shift is between accidents in general and serious accidents. If over 90% of accidents do not cause more than a scrape, then obviously these accidents are not causing serious injuries. In order to weaken this argument, we need to demonstrate that helmets would help reduce serious injuries in the other sub-10% of more serious accidents.

A - Out of scope. Whether bicyclists currently own a helmet is completely irrelevant to whether helmet use would decrease the number of serious injuries.

B - Out of scope. Costs of helmets vs. medical care has nothing to do with this argument.

C - OPPOSITE. This Strengthens the argument. It does not weaken it. Be on the lookout for traps like these.

D - Out of scope. Number of injuries there vs. other areas is irrelevant. We simply care about whether the new ordinance would reduce injuries.

E - Nails it. If most serious injuries are due to head trauma, then it would make sense that mandatory helmet usage would reduce serious injuries. This weakens the argument effectively, and is the correct answer.
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Re: A proposed ordinance requires all cyclists wear a helmet   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2014, 21:03
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