Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bike Helmets

I can't remember how many times someone has sent me an email that is all about how we survived childhood without all the safety equipment that kids use today. The email goes on about concrete playgrounds, no seat belts no bike helmets etc. Yes it is true that we survived. But what about those who didn't from what now is a preventable cause of death.

Two days before I graduated from chiropractic college I turned my Honda Civic (they really tiny kind) into a Honda Accordion. I was distracted by a major collision, flashing lights everywhere, and plowed into a full size car at 50 MPH. If not for my seat belt I would surely have been ejected from the car and died. I was in a volunteer ambulance corps in high school and saw one of those where the car hit a telephone pole going much slower. Not pretty. I'm one of those who was "saved by the belt."

A few weeks ago, I was riding my bike to my office at the University of Bridgeport when a car made a right hand turn right in front of me. I hit a telephone pole with my head. But because of my children I barely was bruised. What do my kids have to do with my getting out of this relatively unharmed? I started wearing a bicycle helmet because they had to, plain and simple.

A recent study cited in the NYTimes found that states with helmet laws have far higher percentage of children who wear bike helmets. A big problem seems to be that for some the helmets are too expensive. Makes me wonder what's the problem with people who don't wear seat belts as all cars now have them. Cost can't be the reason.

I think the problem no matter what the safety device, is that people think, it won't happen to me. The odds are it won't but when it comes to bike helmets or seat belts the benefit far supersedes the costs in money or discomfort.


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