Hard Headed Kids
The VanDerGinst Law Bike Safety Helmet Program
The day your child pedals away on his or her first “big kids” bike is a day you never forget. It is a milestone for you and for your child. More than just a toy, a bicycle represents independence for your child.
Unfortunately, bicycles are more than toys in another sense as well – they are associated with more childhood injuries than any consumer product except automobiles. That’s why it is so important to teach your kids the basic rules of safe biking.
The MOST IMPORTANT rule to safe biking is: WEAR A SAFETY HELMET!
Children are sometimes hard headed about not wanting to wear helmets. Our goal is to make them “Hard Headed” in the sense that their heads are protected by a hard helmet. They may insist that helmets aren’t “cool”, that they are uncomfortable, or that they are good riders and don’t need them anymore. They may point out that none of their friends wear them. Unfortunately, national estimates on helmet use among children bicyclists range from 15% to 25%. It is lowest among children ages 11 to 14. But don’t negotiate. Last year, nearly half a million children were treated in emergency rooms for bike related injuries. Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle accidents. Riders who don’t wear helmets are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than riders who do. On the other hand, Wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 88%.
- Use a helmet that meets current safety guidelines developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Make sure the helmet fits correctly. It should be snug so that it does not rock back and forth, but should not be too tight.
- Make sure the helmet is worn correctly. It should be centered on top of the head and always with the straps buckled.
- If your child is reluctant to wear a helmet try letting her choose her own. They come in many styles and colors. It helps sometimes if the adults also wear helmets when biking.
- Encourage other parents to have their kids wear helmets.
Other Bike Safety Tips:
- Cyclists should be restricted to sidewalks and paths until they reach the age of ten and can demonstrate knowledge of the rules of the road.
- Ride with traffic, not against it. Ride as far to the right as possible.
- Use appropriate hand signals
- Before entering a street, stop and look left and right.
- Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left at intersections.
- Don’t ride in the dark. If riding at dusk, dawn or the evening is unavoidable, wear retroreflective material on clothing or bike, and use a light on the bike
- Make sure you properly fit and maintain your bike.
Helmets save lives. They also save money. Every dollar spent on a bike helmet saves society $30.
VanDerGinst Law is Involved
VanDerGinst Law has proudly given away thousands of bike safety helmets to the children in the communities served by our firm. Our goal is to make as many Hard Headed kids as possible! Please help us. Make sure your child wears a helmet when bike-riding, roller-blading, skateboarding or scooter riding.