Bike Helmets - Cyclists - Fail to use them at your peril !
"Protect your children and yourself from the devastating and life altering consequences of a brain injury." by:
Rose Keith, JD, Vancouver BC personal injury lawyer, and avid cyclist
Summer is a time when the kids spend their time outdoors and with school being out, they have plenty of time. If your kids are anything like mine, they are spending a lot of their time riding a bike. I am always surprised at the number of riders I see in Vancouver NOT wearing helmets. Helmets are essential to the safety of bicycle riding. In BC, all cyclists are required by law to wear an approved helmet. Without a helmet there is nothing to protect you from a head injury and head injuries are a devastating, lifelong and life changing injury.
Statistics Canada reported that in 2009 only 36.5% of bicycle riders reported regularly wearing a bike helmet while riding a bike. Adolescents were found to use bike helmets only 30.6% of the time. A Canadian national study demonstrated that head injury rates among child and youth cyclists were approximately 25% lower in provinces with helmet legislation compared to provinces without legislation and helmet usage varied accordingly.
Not all provinces in Canada have mandatory helmet use legislation. ; In 1996 British Columbia became the first Canadian province to enact a law mandating helmet use by bicyclists of all ages when riding on a public roadway. British Columbia has a higher rate of helmet usage than the national average at 58.8%.
Cyclists are among the most vulnerable users of our roads. A large majority of bicycling deaths and disabling injuries result from head injury. Approximately 75% of all bicyclist fatalities and two-thirds of hospital admissions for bicycling injury involved head trauma. Approximately 90% of bicyclists who die from head injuries are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle.
A properly fitted helmet helps protect the brain from absorbing the force from a crash or fall, decreasing the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85%. This means that four out of five head injuries could be potentially prevented if every cyclist wore a helmet. Helmet use can help prevent or limit the impact of head injuries. Another study found that helmets reduce the risk of head or brain injury by at least 70 percent and injury to the upper or mid face by 65%.
Here are some guidelines to ensure that a bike helmet will provide you with the highest level of protection possible:
1. Ensure that your helmet is one that has been certified to meet the uniform safety standard - it will have a seal confirming this. Your helmet should have CSA, ANSI, ASTM or SNELL standards approval clearly designated on it. Hockey or other types of sport helmets are not legal for cycling. This is because they are designed and tested for other types of impacts.
2. Take the time to make sure that the helmet fits properly:
2a. Size - the helmet should fit snuggly and shouldnt rock from side to side when it is
sitting flat on the top of your head;
3. Replace any helmet that has been involved in a crash or is damaged;
4. A helmet should be replaced every five years regardless of whether it has been in a crash or not. Pollution, UV light and weathering can damage the components over time and lessen the effectiveness of the helmet.
5. The helmet should fit now, not be a helmet that you can grow into;
6. The helmet should feel comfortable.
Protect your children and yourself from the devastating and life altering consequences of a brain injury. Every step that you can take to prevent brain injuries from happening should be taken and a significant step towards this is ensuring that a proper fitting and appropriate bike helmet is worn at all times when bicycling.
Article author: Rose Keith, LLB, former President of the B.C. Trial Lawyers Association (www.tlabc.org, and is well known Vancouver personal injury lawyer. See www.rosekeith.bc.ca - first published 2012.07.12 BCpersonalinjury.orgRose Keith, JD RoseKeith.bc.ca ICBC injury disputes / Medical Malpractice / Employment Law.
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© 2012 Rose Keith - published in www.bcpersonalinjury.org
The following childrenss graphic is courtesy of childrens illustrator Cat Wong, in San Francisco, who has a web site for the characters in the picture ClaraAndClarenceBear.com We are pleased to use this as a way to promote childrens cycling health & safety.
see also Vancouver Medical Walk-In Clinics try directory Metrotown.info...healthservices if you don't have a family doctor and want some medical attention that does not require an immediate hospital emergency visit.
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