The Web site Neuroscience for Kids estimates that 69 to 88 percent of head injuries could be prevented by wearing bicycle helmets. It noted that in 1997, children suffered 367,700 injuries that required medical attention, and more than 30 percent of those involved head injuries.
A total of 22 states currently have laws requiring children to wear helmets while riding bicycles. Some require anyone under 18 to wear them, while others go as low as 12. Several states are considering such laws, and many cities have helmet laws where there is no state law.
Opponents of helmet laws for cyclists say helmets give a sense of security but not enough real protection. They advocate more educational programs both for cyclists and for motorists instead.
Some states allow children under 12 to ride on the sidewalk while others do not. The theory is that children under 12 do not have the capability of safely understanding and maneuvering around automobile traffic.
The Town of Wadley, Georgia, officials began confiscating bikes when children were not wearing helmets while riding. The town saw helmet use drastically increase as a result, and they saw injuries decrease.
Many law enforcement agencies have special programs on bike safety in the school for children. Some organizations give helmets to children at these events.
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.