Learning how to ride a bicycle without training wheels is a right of passage for our young people. It is a great bonding event between parent and child. Yet, many of our children do not wear helmets when bicycling. Some states have helmet laws, making their use mandatory, but beyond these laws, there are many reasons for our young people to wear helmets while bicycling.
Unnecessary Injuries and Deaths
Children and young cyclists are more likely to die from head injuries suffered between motor vehicle and bicycle collisions than adult cyclists, according to the Children's Safety Network. In 2000, 62.6 percent of cycling deaths occurred from head injuries in children up to 19 years of age.
While pragmatic and cold, reality shows us that injuries caused from trauma to the brain in children not wearing helmets while bicycling is incredibly costly. Between 1999 and 2002, $1.03 billion was spent as a result of fatal bicycle injuries in youth up to 19 years old; nonfatal injuries accounted for $3.6 billion. Helmet use will reduce costs in medical expenses.
More Than Half
In 2005, youth under the age of 15 accounted for 53 percent of all bicycle injuries requiring hospital attention. Due to this high percentage, it makes sense for children to wear helmets while bicycling, as statistics show us they are more prone to accidents while riding.
By wearing helmets, 80 percent of fatal bike injuries or 75 percent of disabling injuries could be prevented.
It's the Law
Currently there are 14 states that have helmet laws for children. Many localities have helmet laws. For a full list, and to check if your state has a helmet law, visit the Bicylce Helmet Safey Institute.org website. If you are in need of bicycle helmets for your children, Trails.com has a good selection of ANSI and Snell certified helmets.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.