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  1. #1
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Neighborhood Kids and Helmets

    I need to bounce something off the group, and this is probably the best forum.

    First of all, I am an avid roadie. I ride pretty much every day, either commuting or recreationally/club rides. I am an avid proponent of helmets and always use one, even if it's just a quick ride around the cul-de-sac to check an adjustment.

    I have 2 daughters, ages 6 and 8....they know they MUST wear a helmet if they ride....which they do.

    We live in what I would describe as an educated, upper-middle class neighborhood, with lots of kids.

    The "problem" is that most of the neighborhood kids ride around without helmets, including my daughter's best friend who is also 8 and lives next door. I know these kids HAVE helmets but for whatever reason they ride around the neighborhood without one.

    For the past couple of months whenever I see one of these kids (if I know them) I yell out "where is your helmet?" or "don't forget your helmet!" but the kids continue to ride without one.

    The state law in pennsylvania is that all children under a certain age (12? 14? 16?) must wear a helmet.

    Should I just shut up and make sure my own kids wear their helmets? Or maybe approach the parents and remind them the importance of wearing a helmet, advice from a "real" bicyclist?

    I should just shut up and not mention it anymore, right?

    Doug

  2. #2
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    There are some good (and really long) threads on here that debate the effectiveness of helmets. Let's just say the other parents may rather their kids not wear bike helmets and have good reasons for doing so.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    Should I just shut up and make sure my own kids wear their helmets?
    Afraid so.

    One of my son's friend's moms doesn't wear a helmet biking, and I probably don't think she should, she rides a cruiser pulling a trailer with her baby, she grew up before helmets (like all the parents I guess), I don't think she rides off the sidewalk even in the neighborhood. In general they've been of the school (kind of as we are) of letting our kids learn through experience why they don't slam their heads into pointy things (neither they nor we have gone all out w/ foam corners on tables/hearths etc...). They are willing to let their kids not wear helmets, we are not. And it turns out, their kids want helmets anyway and got them. My son has seen me after a couple wipeouts and he knows he doesn't want to go through that so I never have to remind him about his helmet, and that's about the limit of my job.

  4. #4
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    My son has actually USED his helmet once. his firends is a couple of years older. and rides a schwiinnn stringray. it looks like a chopper. my son asked me if he should wear a helmet ...and i saiad yes but remeber i let you do dangerous things and we take risk but we understand the consequeces if things go wrong and we play more then we think.

    He is playing more than thinking.
    Cars make you weak.

  5. #5
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    My kids have grown up knowing they don't touch their bike, scooter or skateboard unless their helmet is on! It's just a rule we have ALWAYS had and always will have! That being said, NOONE else in our neighborhood wears a helmet. My kids have said at one time or another to the kids they should wear one, but the kids say their parents don't make them. We have a ramp for the kisd to use, but noone is allowed to use it without their helmet, therefore it's always just my kids on it. The other kids won't wear one no matter how many times you tell them to. But yet the first crash/head injury it's gonna be "man I wish I wore that helmet", and in your mind you can say "i told ya so". Kinda mean for kids, but really, it's not that hard to wear one.

    I tell my kids the reason I make them wear one is because I love them! Same reasoning for buckling up everytime!

  6. #6
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    For over 40 years I have rarely worn a helmet. I didn't require my kids to wear helmets. I don't require my grandkids to wear helmets either, because it's up to their mom and dad to raise them, not me...which is the point of my response. Your best bet is to raise your kids and let other parents raise theirs.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    HTFU wayne_imhoff's Avatar
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    I grew up riding and racing without helmets, but we didn't hear about the accidents like this!

    There many reasons to wear helmets.... http://www.inlineplanet.com/2006-03/15-death.html.

    My kids and I are NOT EVER to ride or skate without helmets( Momma's Law).

  8. #8
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    My mother in law watch the kids while I work.

    I go outside and my duaghter 3 is riding with no helmet. I tell her to get a helmet on and she sahe nana said ok.
    nanas reponces "She was just in the driveway".
    I explained that we cant have part way rules. No helmet no bike. that is playing more than you think."
    Cars make you weak.

  9. #9
    It's supposed to do that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    I should just shut up and not mention it anymore, right?


    yup.

  10. #10
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    I should just shut up and not mention it anymore, right?

    Doug

    Yep.

    Jeff - who got a seatbelt ticket the other day going 25mph through my neighborhood, on the first day I've actually driven my car in weeks.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    I should just shut up and not mention it anymore, right?

    Doug
    It sorta depends on the nature of your relationship with the kids and their parents.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  12. #12
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback....so far this week I have been biting my tongue....not easy but it is getting easier.
    BTW for adults it's your head, you dont have to wear a helmet if you don't want to....but I still think young kids should wear one.

    sigh.

    Doug

  13. #13
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    One time i was makeing some adjustemnts on my wifes bike. so i was doing circles in the driveway to test the derailures no helmet.
    My son come out into the front yard.
    DAD get your helmet on or ge off the bike. I told him he was right. and got my helmet.

    Guess i am doing my job.
    Cars make you weak.

  14. #14
    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by st0ut View Post
    One time i was makeing some adjustemnts on my wifes bike. so i was doing circles in the driveway to test the derailures no helmet.
    My son come out into the front yard.
    DAD get your helmet on or ge off the bike. I told him he was right. and got my helmet.

    Guess i am doing my job.

    I pretty much never wear a helmet riding around the neighborhood checking out adjustments/repairs/rebuilds, and that of course is probably when I need one most, if the bike might lock up and flip over on me if I didn't get something just right...

  15. #15
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    Thanks for the feedback....so far this week I have been biting my tongue....not easy but it is getting easier.
    BTW for adults it's your head, you dont have to wear a helmet if you don't want to....but I still think young kids should wear one.

    sigh.

    Doug

    Because you wore one when you were a kid? Were your parents negligent for not requiring it?

    The knee-jerk reaction is going to be "time have changes", but in this regard the only thing that's changed is the level of fear people have.

    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.

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    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.
    I dunno, I don't do any of those things but the helmets. I also, unlike my parents, don't put my kid on my lap to drive the car w/ as many controls as he can reach.

  17. #17
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Because you wore one when you were a kid? Were your parents negligent for not requiring it?

    The knee-jerk reaction is going to be "time have changes", but in this regard the only thing that's changed is the level of fear people have.

    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.
    Because none of us survived childhood of course!
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.
    I require my kids to wear one vs. me not wearing one as a kid...because my kids jump off the ramp, because my kids are big klutzes! Because my kids are boys, and I'm a girl. I think that speaks a million reason why they have to wear one!

    I don't let them walk the mile to school because there is a sex offender along the path.

    We don't have safety locks on everything, although yes we did when they were toddlers, no sense giving them the poisons, they had to work for it!

    Seat belts, I had to wear one growing up, always.

    Some things are just easy simple precautions we can take to help protect our kids a little better.

  19. #19
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Because you wore one when you were a kid? Were your parents negligent for not requiring it?

    The knee-jerk reaction is going to be "time have changes", but in this regard the only thing that's changed is the level of fear people have.

    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.
    Are you a parent?
    Cars make you weak.

  20. #20
    Senior Member condiment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Because you wore one when you were a kid? Were your parents negligent for not requiring it?

    The knee-jerk reaction is going to be "time have changes", but in this regard the only thing that's changed is the level of fear people have.

    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.
    It's not the level of fear that's changed, it's the level of awareness.

    Children know bicycles are dangerous. They're frightened by them and require LOTS of peer pressure from older kids and their parents just to learn to ride them with training wheels. Riding often desensitizes them to the danger of cycling much like you don't fear driving, even though it's a leading cause of death for adults worldwide. There are volumes of statistics available to modern parents that people 20 years ago could only dream of having.

    Stereotyping parents who can perform a reasonable risk-assessment into a group of neurotic parents who don't let their children have any freedom is entirely unfair. A bicycle is freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is cycling safely.
    Last edited by condiment; 06-23-08 at 03:19 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Because you wore one when you were a kid? Were your parents negligent for not requiring it?

    The knee-jerk reaction is going to be "time have changes", but in this regard the only thing that's changed is the level of fear people have.

    I'm curious to hear why others think our behavior as a group has changed. Parents now who require helmets, won't let kids walk to school, have safety locks on everything in the house are basically the same people as their parents who did none of these things.
    I try to avoid engaging in arguments like this. There is clear-cut evidence that helmet use in chlidren decreases injuries. And it has been legislated (at least in my state). If parents choose to ignore this, that is foolish but their decision. Like parents who refuse to let doctors treat their kids' serious illness, and use faith healing instead.

    A few generations ago there were lots of kids in iron lungs due to paralysis from polio....now with immunizations this is a thing of the past. Just because my parents didnt get polio immunizations, does that mean I should not get my kids immunized? But I digress.

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback, and I am still biting my tongue on the neighbors kids behavior.

    Doug

  22. #22
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by condiment View Post
    Children know bicycles are dangerous.
    This is so freakin sad. Why do they think bicycles are dangerous? BECAUSE OF WUSSY, HAND-WRINGING ADULTS THAT MAKE ME ASHAMED TO BE IN THE SAME SPECIES!
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  23. #23
    Senior Member ummbnb's Avatar
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    I agree that you should keep it to yourself.

    However, perhaps you could coordinate some sort of neighborhood bike safety class for the kids, brining in someone from the outside to lead it. Maybe at your next block party...or a reason to have a block party.

  24. #24
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    As is clear from all the discussion there is no easy answer. Some parents don't care because they don't care. Other parents never had any problems as kids growing up, therefore they don't see there being any risk to their kids. To each their own. I have been wearing a helmet since the mid 1980's. Back then it was HARD to find a descent helmet. I rode on a busy narrow road filled with dozens of school busses. I figured that sooner or later I'd be forced off the road by one of them. I was clipped by a driver who didn't stay put at her stop sign. I bounced off the hood. I almost hit the windshield. I was probably inches from hitting it. Once could say that since I did't hit anything, that I didn't need the helmet and they would not be entirely wrong. I like to be prepared for the worst yet hope I never need the protection.

    Helmet use and seatbelt use all fall into the same catagory. Some folks don't feel like they need protection. Others take a more cautious approach. You can go overboard with the whole protecting your self. I've known two people how had nasty foot breaks just walking. No activity is without some danger.

    Here are some observations:
    - When I had the accident: The person who was driving behind the woman who hit me saw the whole thing happening. After it was clear that I was not seriously hurt she told me how she always makes her kids wear helmets, but never bothered herself. Seeing 1st hand how quickly a driver can make a mistake and can hit you, she told me she will never again go out riding without a helmet.
    - A professor I worked for at the university lost his brother to a simple bike accident. The brother was riding around the neighborhood and was stopped. He somehow lost his balance, fell over , cracked hit head on the road and died. There was no speed involved and admitedly, he could have tripped while walking and the same thing could happen. He died for to young. A helmet would have absolutly prevented his death.
    - My mother in-law had a bad car wreck back in the 1970's. She put her head and arm through the windshield of the car. She has permanent neurological damage because of the accident. She still won't wear a seat belt, after all she is fine... The sad part is that her husband was sitting next to her. The only damage he got was some minor bruising from the seat belt. I guess is permanent neurological damage is nothing than so be it.

    I'll wear my helmet when I ride my bike, and I'll wear my seatbelt when I drive. Neither is guaranteed to prevent me from getting hurt, but it sure helps put the odds in my favor.

    Happy riding,
    André

  25. #25
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    A few generations ago there were lots of kids in iron lungs due to paralysis from polio....now with immunizations this is a thing of the past. Just because my parents didnt get polio immunizations, does that mean I should not get my kids immunized? But I digress.

    Now there are all these kids with autism due to all of these excess immunizations. But I digress as well.

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