> To the Editor,
On March 19 a young man was hit by a car while riding his bicycle home from school. Both the cyclist, who was on the sidewalk, and the motorist had their view of each other obstructed by a sign. Thankfully the sign has been removed. The boy received some cuts and bruises and I'm sure he had his nerves rattled a bit.
He did not, however, receive any head injury. His helmet, which was cracked by the fall, saved him from what could have been a major injury.
I too have been hit by a car while riding my bicycle. I too ended up with cuts, bruises, rattled nerves and a cracked bike helmet. I too had no head injury. Common sense dictates that all bicyclists should wear helmets. Oregon law, poorly enforced in Jefferson County, dictates that anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet.
According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, "A very high percentage of cyclists' brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 percent."
With safe helmets costing as little as $10, there is no excuse not to have one. To know if a helmet is "safe" look for the "CPSC" sticker attached to it.
Once you have the helmet make sure you wear it correctly. CPSC offers the following tips on how to correctly wear a helmet: Wear the helmet flat atop your head, not tilted back at an angle. Make sure the helmet fits snugly and does not obstruct your field of vision. Make sure the chinstrap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened. Finally, don't buy a helmet that your child will "grow into." They need a helmet that fits properly now. As an adult, be a good role model; wear your helmet as well.
Michael T. McGinnis