Wear Your Helmet

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

The weather is cooling down, but the roads aren’t slick with ice yet. Young Monctonians can be seen riding around on their bicycles in the residential parts of town.

Ordinarily, this would be a good thing. Biking around the neighborhood is a simple way to be more physically active. However, from what I have seen in the past few weeks, young bicyclers are leaving their helmets despite N.B. laws requiring that bicyclers of all ages wear helmets. It doesn’t matter if you’ve biked over to your friend’s house a hundred time; you only have to have one bike riding accident to regret forgetting your helmet.

When my parents were young, even when some of my older cousins were young, ”no one” wore helmets while biking. As a result, one of my mom’s classmates died in a bike accident (he fell off the bike that he was riding with a friend) that might have been much less serious if he had been wearing a helmet.

Today, it is widely known that wearing a helmet is an easy way to reduce the risk of head injury when participating in a number of sports, including biking, skateboarding, rollerskating, skating, snowboarding, hockey, skiing and sledding.

Of course, wearing a helmet won’t make you invincible and it shouldn’t be the only safety precaution taken when riding a bike. Biking at night in a poorly lit area, biking alongside a busy road while distracted or trying out daredevil tricks on an unsafe trail are dangerous situations, regardless of whether or not you have a helmet strapped to your head. Your head may be protected by the helmet you’re wearing, but the rest of your body is not.

Head injuries, according to Safe Kids Canada, are the most common form of fatal injury on a bicycle. However, broken bones and injuries to the face and skin are no fun and they can happen too.

Wearing and choosing a bicycle helmet can be pesky and it won’t save you from everything, but it’s definitely a no-brainer for anyone who wants to stay safe.

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on October 2nd, 2010.

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