Bicycle Helmets

As an avid bicycle rider, I cringe when I see children riding bicycles on their driveway, let alone in the street, without helmets. Last year I turned a corner while riding my bicycle. My bicycle flew out from under me, my bicycle clips disengaged from my pedals and I fell and hit my head. I was wearing a helmet. The helmet cracked, due to the trauma. Even though I had the helmet on, I experienced significant head pain for several months. I went often to the massage therapist who used her methods to ease the pain and move the cranial bones back into place. If I would not have had a helmet on, I would have experienced a great deal more pain and maybe a traumatic brain injury. 

According to a recent publication, every year about 350,000 children under the age of 15 are rushed to hospital emergency rooms with injuries from bicycle wrecks. Many of these injuries are head injuries. These head injuries can cause brain damage and life-long disability. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a bicycle helmet is estimated to reduce the risk of head injuries by 85%. 

Children should wear bicycle helmets whenever they are on a bike. This gets them in the habit of wearing bicycle helmets as they mature. Bike helmets are becoming more popular, but they still have a long way to go to become totally acceptable. Actually, Burley, a leading manufacturer of child bicycle trailers, suggests that a child even wear a helmet when they are in a bicycle trailer. This gets them used to wearing a helmet at a young age. It also protects them if there is an accident while they are riding in the trailer. According to a nationwide survey, 29% of children said that they wear a bike helmet. In a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was reported that only 15% of children use a helmet.

Parents may ask what brand of bicycle helmet they should use. Since February 1999, all helmets have to meet the safety standards issued by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Just as when fitting an adult’s helmet, the important aspect of wearing a helmet is the fit, not the brand. You do not, however, want to buy a used helmet because just with the helmet that I was wearing, the crack in the helmet did not become apparent for several days after I had the accident. Sometimes fire departments and/or health departments have days when they give out helmets and/or sell helmets at a reduced cost. The cost of the helmet is much less costly than taking your child to the emergency room and/or your child experiencing the headaches and soreness that would come from a concussion or worse.

Information provided by the law firm of Kirtley, Taylor, Sims, Chadd & Minnette, PC. For more information contact them at 317-550-4333 or visit them online at www.KirtleyTaylorLaw.com.