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  1. #1
    contre nous de la tyranie
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    How do we get kids to wear hemets?

    I have two boys, 9 and 11, with whom I ride frequently. I set a fairly good example, by wearing my helmet almost all the time( I misplaced it, and went a few days without, recently). My kids have tried to get out of riding with their helmets or go without the strap clicked into place, as they have frequently seen older kids model. I'm almost thinking that kids think that what adults do is uncool, so they will do the opposite, especially if there is a perceived, small but real danger.

    So what do we do to save the developing craniums of America?

  2. #2
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    I remember doing a charity ride (organised, helmets mandatory) back in the early 1990s and seeing these three girls - they must have been in their teens, but what made them unique amongst the hundreds of other very ordinary-looking cyclists, were their helmets. They had added crests and devices to make them look as if they were something out of a Roman Legion - the general consensus was that they were very cool, very distinctive, and quite unique. Perhaps you could do a similar thing, although I think if you read the small print, you will find that attaching things to the helmet will invalidate the warranty…

    - Wil

  3. #3
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    Might be a little "drastic", but maybe you could see if one on the local hospitals has a head trauma wing they could visit. Maybe a nurse could ask one of the patients (maybe from a motorcycle or bicycle accident) to speak with them and instill how a helmet might have saved them from being there. Nothing like the reality of seeing first hand what can happen if your head is not protected!

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    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Here in California , it is mandatory those under 18 wear helmets. They will sequester your kids and you have to come down and pay a fine, when the police show up at your door.
    First offense and their bike is locked up,until they come to the realization-I will not pay a second fine.

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    How do we get kids to wear helmets? Well, duh! Just put one on him/her. Aren't parents still in charge anymore?
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  6. #6
    contre nous de la tyranie
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    I frequently see kids riding with helmets dangling from handle bars or on heads, but with the strap unattached. I always will make sure that they have helmets. Making sure that they are fimly anchored, is more difficult.

  7. #7
    Enthusiasm on Wheels As You Like It's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    I remember doing a charity ride (organised, helmets mandatory) back in the early 1990s and seeing these three girls - they must have been in their teens, but what made them unique amongst the hundreds of other very ordinary-looking cyclists, were their helmets. They had added crests and devices to make them look as if they were something out of a Roman Legion - the general consensus was that they were very cool, very distinctive, and quite unique. Perhaps you could do a similar thing, although I think if you read the small print, you will find that attaching things to the helmet will invalidate the warranty…

    - Wil
    A friend of mine does mountain bike racing, and her racing team bought a bunch of that thin craft foam (I think it is typically used to make fridge magnets) and cut it into flying wings which they zip-tied onto the sides of their helmets. That is their trademark.

    You could do all kinds of stuff for your kid with that foam. Wings, fins, dinosaur spikes, tails, fangs, horns.

    Another biggie: let your kid pick his/her own helmet. They have some really awesome kid helmets out there right now--great colors, neat stuff printed on them. I watched a small girl pick out her own helmet at a lbs this summer, and she wanted to wear it out the door, even though her bike was at home. A metallic purple helmet was what the kid wanted, and when she got it, she didn't want to take it off. Kids get more of a pride of ownership out of something if they get to do the choosing.

    Talk up helmets to your kids. Tell them this is what the pros wear. See if you can find some good video of professional BMX, mountain, track, and road racers, doing their thing, all wearing helmets. I think if kids get the idea that a helmet is just something you wear when you are riding, not some dumb thing mom and dad are pushing, they'll just accept it as part of the equipment, like a ballglove is for softball.

    Also, if you've ever had a good, dramatic crash while wearing your helmet, cut the straps out of the crashed helmet and keep it around as a trophy. Bonus points if the thing is actually cracked. Even more bonus points if your kid saw you bounce your helmet-clad head off the road, get back up, and walk away.
    Wheeeee!

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    Quote Originally Posted by As You Like It

    Also, if you've ever had a good, dramatic crash while wearing your helmet, cut the straps out of the crashed helmet and keep it around as a trophy. Bonus points if the thing is actually cracked. Even more bonus points if your kid saw you bounce your helmet-clad head off the road, get back up, and walk away.
    And, if all else fails, try to look really really mean, even if you are still wearing your silly spandex outfit and wielding a baseball bat.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  9. #9
    pnj
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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    How do we get kids to wear helmets? Well, duh! Just put one on him/her. Aren't parents still in charge anymore?
    NO, they aren't.....

    Tell them this is what the pros wear. See if you can find some good video of professional BMX doing their thing, all wearing helmets..
    hahaha, Riiiight....
    the pro's I know do wear helmets when they feel it nesasary or are requiered to ride at a given place/contest but MOST of the time, they don't.

    it's the parents job to do what they think is right. either that or stop breading...
    4130

  10. #10
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceratt
    I have two boys, 9 and 11, with whom I ride frequently. I set a fairly good example, by wearing my helmet almost all the time( I misplaced it, and went a few days without, recently)
    Sorry if this sounds mean, it is not my intent, this is just how I feel. You are not setting a good example, you are demonstrating that if you misplace your helmet it's OK to ride without it. The kids are watching you all the time, they are not so stupid that they can't see you. They now know you truly think it's not that important. Now we all do. Actions speak louder than words.

    You have to be 100% consistent. If you can't find your helmet, find it, don't ride, or buy a spare helmet.
    You also have to insist that have their helmets buckled on every time or they just can't ride, period.

    Even if you do this, they still may not always wear a helmet, but it is your JOB to do the right thing all the time and at least teach them that YOU think it's important. If they know that, someday they might say, "Hey that's right, we should wear our helmets too" . There are no guarantees about what will happen, only about what you can do.

    I learned the value of helmets from motorcycles years before the kids were born. When I rode with the kids we had helmets every time, head and taillights at dusk, every time, etc. When they get to about 15 years old they are consumed by cars and not bikes. When they said they can't wear helmets, I just said, no rides, period without helmets. So they stopped riding bikes, but they would have stopped anyway at that age. But they know how I feel. Now the oldest is 22 she rode her bike a few times this summer and went to buy a nicer looking helmet. I have two kids so maybe my success rate is 50% ? Don't know yet.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    When they get to about 15 years old they are consumed by cars and not bikes. When they said they can't wear helmets, I just said, no rides, period without helmets. So they stopped riding bikes,
    Too late now...but, I would have taken away their cars. Nobody likes a smart-mouth, fat As-word kid anyways.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  12. #12
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Here's what I did to show one of my friends he needed to wear his helmet while riding his motorcycle. I had him put on one of my old helmets. As he's fumbling with straps, I slyly reached for a baseball bat. As soon as his hands were clear, I gave it a nice smack from the bat at about 50% full-force (careful, you can still snap someone's neck even with a helmet). That was quite a shock I'm sure, but I told him you never know when a crash's coming. Then I asked him to take off the helmet and we'd try the baseball bat test on his head.... I carried that baseball bat around all day just to make him feel a little uneasy.. kinda like how I feel whenever I ride without a helmet...

  13. #13
    Vino 4-ever FastFreddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceratt
    I have two boys, 9 and 11, with whom I ride frequently. I set a fairly good example, by wearing my helmet almost all the time( I misplaced it, and went a few days without, recently). My kids have tried to get out of riding with their helmets or go without the strap clicked into place, as they have frequently seen older kids model. I'm almost thinking that kids think that what adults do is uncool, so they will do the opposite, especially if there is a perceived, small but real danger.

    So what do we do to save the developing craniums of America?
    Here in Georgia, kids 16 and under (or maybe under 16??) are required to wear helmets. It’s not enforced all the time, but at least a parent can explain – “it’s the law and you don’t want to get arrested do you?”

    What really gets me is when I see parents and their kids out for a ride on the bike path that I frequent -- the kids properly outfitted in helmets while the parent is helmet-less. Maybe it’s an attempt at reverse psychology – if the parent doesn’t wear one then it must be cool to wear one.
    Sheriff: You have a lot of experience with bounty hunters, do you?
    Mattie Ross: That is a silly question. I am here to settle my father’s affairs.
    Sheriff: All alone?
    Mattie Ross: I am the person for it. Mama was never any good at sums and she could hardly spell “CAT”.
    --from the movie True Grit (2010)

  14. #14
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Sadly, bicycle helmets have been cursed with an image that is, at least to the young, dorky, or geeky, or just "not cool". I must admit, I didn't start wearing one faithfuly until 1982. What prompted me to start wearing one: A co-worker died of major head injuries, sustained in a hit-and-run accident with a car. (There was a witness. The driver was later caught and charged accordingly.) The fellow who died was only twenty three years old.

    There's no easy answer to this question. It does not help matters at all, when kids see so many adults riding without helmets. And yes, I have seen "the usual gang of idiots" riding along with helmets dangling from handlebars, or perched on the backs of their heads, or just un-fastened.

    As for excuses, I have heard them all, but my favorite is this one: "Oh, I don't need a helmet, because I only ride on the sidewalk". This, from a woman with a masters degree in mechanical engineering.

    An LBS has a policy that everyone taking a test ride must wear a helmet. You bring your own, or they'll provide one. On one occasion, I saw an all-american dad type get into a loud confrontation with store employees, over this policy. Seems his son, (about ten I think) wanted to take a BMX bike for a ride. They wouldn't permit the test ride, unless the boy wore a helmet. But no, dad was red-faced adamant. After all, he "never had one when I was a kid, and my son doesn't need one!". He left the store in a rage, disappointed son in tow. I'm guessing they headed to Walmart or Sears.

    With this type of embedded thinking, the problem of how to get kids to wear helmets is going to be tough to solve. Image is everything to kids and teens.

  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    How do we get kids to wear helmets? Well, duh! Just put one on him/her. Aren't parents still in charge anymore?
    Another alternative suggested by a Lab-Reform Leader who couldn't persuade his own children to cycle and wear a helmet was to suggest mandatory legislation, for everybody else's children in order to set an example for his own. He thought that would be solution to his parental control problem.

  16. #16
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Another alternative suggested by a Lab-Reform Leader who couldn't persuade his own children to cycle and wear a helmet was to suggest mandatory legislation, for everybody else's children in order to set an example for his own. He thought that would be solution to his parental control problem.
    You've done a good job attacking a position that no one at LAB Reform has taken (and is actually the opposite of the view of most of them).

    So, what's your solution?

  17. #17
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    Too late now...but, I would have taken away their cars. Nobody likes a smart-mouth, fat As-word kid anyways.
    They were consumed by the car culture. They did not have cars, they were 15. They did not do anything disrespectful or smart mouth, they are good kids. They just would not wear helmets so I refused to let them ride bikes with no helmet. Girls say it messes up their hair. When kids get close to driving age they are always thinking about cars. I did too.
    They exercise plenty, one of them made it to the State Finals in horse show jumping. She always wears a helmet on the horse.

    I don't have smart mouth, fat As-word kids.

  18. #18
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    You've done a good job attacking a position that no one at LAB Reform has taken (and is actually the opposite of the view of most of them).
    No? Ask your Buckeye Buddy, Fred about his previous suggested solution to HIS parental problem over helmets

  19. #19
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    The VC'ers I've spoken with, including the one you refer to by name, oppose helmet laws. I'm not going to go into that debate here because that's a question for another thread.

    Back to this thread. What's your solution to the problem iceratt presented?
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 09-17-05 at 04:43 PM.

  20. #20
    Seńior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If I can't find my helmet, I drive my car, much as I hate it.

    We have, from day one, simply presented no options. You buckle up or the car doesn't move. You wear your helmet, or the bike gets locked in the garage. There is no option.

    I have heard people even say they can't get their little kids in the safety seats, etc. Our kids never even thought to question it, because they have never seen anyone in a car without a seat belt, kid or adult. They have seen people riding without helmets, but from the time they could talk, we pointed those people out and ridiculed them (guess they've got nothing inside their heads they care about, etc), so wearing a helmet has not been an issue.
    Of course, both our kids are very strong against peer pressure, some kids may not be able to hold out. It can be tough.

  21. #21
    Banned. red house's Avatar
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    Staples or screws would work -(In theory)

  22. #22
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    Hey all you can do is tell them how it is. I have 3 daughters and they always wear helmets. Long hair and all. They stopped complaining after about 4 firm "NO"s. Here is a great helmet tip. In early spring evil walmart sells a $6 Bell helmet. Buy extras. A month later they'll be selling for $18.

    This is one law I wouldn't need but in PA it is illegal for someone under 16 to ride without a helmet.

    Another kid helmet tip: Chubby chins can get caught in the helmet clip. If you hold a credit card there while snapping you can avoid the painful skin-caught-in-the-clip problem.

  23. #23
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeranger
    Might be a little "drastic", but maybe you could see if one on the local hospitals has a head trauma wing they could visit. Maybe a nurse could ask one of the patients (maybe from a motorcycle or bicycle accident) to speak with them and instill how a helmet might have saved them from being there. Nothing like the reality of seeing first hand what can happen if your head is not protected!
    I was going to suggest what freeranger mentioned. With the exception of saying it is drastic. I think it is very acceptable to use a tactic like this to convince kids to wear helmets. Sometimes a scareing a kid just a little bit, provided it is done right, can go a long way. But one must be careful when doing so to much fear can lead be to drastic & scare the kid from riding completely.

    If you can not go to a hospital or find a head injury unit there then the next best thing is photographs of what can happen if a helmet is not worn. But again be careful when doing so.

  24. #24
    Fritz M richardmasoner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeranger
    Might be a little "drastic", but maybe you could see if one on the local hospitals has a head trauma wing they could visit.
    Given that almost all the head trauma in the ER will be from drivers or passengers of cars and trucks, it will be difficult to find anectodes of cyclists cracking a skull on the pavement.

    What do you call a motorist without a helmet? An organ donor! Motor vehicle occupants are about as likely to receive a head injury as a cyclist.

    My kids, incidentally, automatically wear their helmets when they ride. There's not even any question about it.

  25. #25
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    Here's what I do with my three children. I tell them to put their helmet on. they put them on. done, case closed. Ages 15, 14, 6 How do you misplace your helmet? I take my off, clip strap, hang it on the handle bar. When the bike is on the car it goes in the back seat. I suppose if the bike had to sit outside in the elements I would have to devise another system.

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