Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bicycle Helmets: An Unscientific Survey

This seems an appropriate question on what is allegedly the first day of Spring: Do the children in your life (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.) wear bicycle helmets when they go out riding?

All the time? Or under what circumstances?

Do you wear one when you go out with them? Do you wear one when you ride on your own?


Inquiring minds would like to know.


Anonymous said...

In Texas, it's highly recommended that you wear a helmet while bicycling and there have been numerous attempts to make it law, but so far, to my knowledge, the individuality (read: pigheadedness) of most Texans keeps it off the books.
I never wore a helmet, and probably wouldn't have ridden my bike much if I'd been forced to. I never made my kids wear helmets, although they owned them, because their dad INSISTED on it. Jay actually thought they looked neat for awhile, I think he was thinking that if he wore a helmet his bike would magically transform into a Harley...*ah the power of the 6 yr. old imagination*

sari said...

I don't wear a helmet, nor does my husband. I have one but it's stupid looking.

Both of my boys (8 & 5) have a helmet, but they look more like motorcycle helmets, actually, they look like modified helmets. Eight has a Magic 8 Ball on his, it's black. It's actually kind of cool looking.

They think they're dumb but I make them wear them if we're riding bikes to their school, it's about 1/2 mile from here and across bigger roads. They're both kind of clumsy and have fallen but not hurt their heads.

When we ride around our neighborhood, we don't make them wear them.

In California, I think it's a law to wear them? I think it is for rollerblading also. Weird. But a lot of "sue-happy" people there, right?

Anonymous said...

We live in NY, and they are required for bicycle riding.

My son, who is 8, went to an ice skating birthday party this weekend, and the kids weren't allowed on the ice without them. They are also commonly worn for: sledding, skate boarding, snow boarding, skiing and roller skating.

My daughter is in nursery school, and the children must bring their own bicycle helmets to school each day, or they are unable to ride the tricycles.

I often wonder...

Where fibers meet mud said...

I am 50-plus years old and never owned a helmet - rode bikes from the time I was 5 and never fell on my head. My knees on the other hand have lots of road marks!

My grandchildren when they were small did wear helmets. We sold them at Children's Hospital when I worked there. I have a friend who rides his bike like I ride my car - when he took a spill he was thankful that he had one on because he feels it saved his face from being road burned.

So the jury is out on these things - I see kids on skateboards using them - never had one when I was a kid riding a skateboard and I have the scars to prove I never owned elbow or knee guards either. Just made me a litte less daring... which was probably a good thing and I kept Johnson & Johnson in business when I was a kid! Key issue here is we survived all this stuff and playgrounds that were on gravel surfaces too! Amazing isn't it?

Anonymous said...

My kids wear helmets, I do too.

Lots of people grew up without them (myself included) a few people didn't grow up because they died from a brain injury smashing their head on the pavement.....

You don't have to wear a seatbelt in a car....

You don't have to dry your hands before flicking a light switch..

You can smoke while filling a car...

It comes down to risk reduction. When the boys are old enough to make up their own minds, they can leave the helmets in the garage, but for now, if they fell off their bikes and had one of those 1 in a million accidents where they hit their head in the wrong place and die....I can't live with that.

The Curmudgeon said...

OK, I'll take the bait on this, Chris: Not all risks are the same. I haven't looked up the figures, but I'm quite certain that there is far greater danger of serious injury if one smokes while putting gas in the tank than there would be from riding a bicycle on a residential street.

I believe that the danger of a skinned knee or elbow is far greater than the danger of falling on one's head... if the bicycle is ridden on a residential street. Riding along a busy highway (where one is more likely to get hit by a car) or on a woodland trail (where the surface is very uneven and unpredictable) would certainly increase the odds of sustaining a head injury. Helmets would make sense in those cases... but I don't see that the benefit of helmets is thereby proved in all cases.

I'll bet your kids are pretty active -- but both here and in the UK we have an epidemic of childhood obesity. Kids need to get out into the fresh air and sunshine and play -- and if they have to stop to put on various layers of protective gear -- will they go out in the first place? Which is the greater risk -- that an inactive child will become obese and develop life long health problems or that a child encouraged to ride his bike around the neighborhood will have an injury more serious than a skinned knee?

I don't have all the answers, just a lot of questions....

Hilda said...

I don't ride a bike (because that could be construed as exercise and leads to sweating - two things I'd rather not do) but do have a *helmet story*. About 10 years ago one of my cousins was riding on suburban road in New England somewhere and out of nowhere was hit by a car casing her to tumble over the bike handlebars. She was wearing a helmet which cracked down the center - her doctor point-blank said that if she hadn't been wearing a helmet, that crack would have been her skull and she'd probably be dead. As it was she sustained spinal injuries, but thankfully recovered almost completely.

Personally, if I had a child I would make them wear a helmet.

Smalltown RN said...

It is the law here to wear helmets. I wear a helmet all the time when I am on my bike and quad. I won't let the children ride bikes or quads without them....being a nurse I have seen the injuries caused by not wearing a helmet.....yes they can crack and fall apart...but think of what would have happend if you didn't have it in the first place. And I am not talking about those skull hats...those are useless.

Helmets all the's to bad you think they are "dorky"...that dorky helmet could save your life one day!