Bicycles are considered vehicles according to Kentucky state and local laws and therefore are subject to all the rights and regulations that apply to other vehicles. The same opportunities exist for distraction, accidents and wrecks as when driving or riding in a car. The difference is there is no seatbelt or airbag to help prevent severe injury. This is why wearing a helmet is essential.
If worn correctly, helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent, yet only 45 percent of children age 14 and younger regularly wear a bike helmet. Local regulations require anyone under age 18 to wear a helmet while riding in any Louisville Metro park.
Wearing a helmet protects your child’s face, head and brain in case of a fall. According to Safekids.org, “Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a few days in the hospital. Some of these injuries are so serious that children die, usually from head injuries.”
In 2014, Norton Children’s Hospital had 24 bike vs. motor vehicle injuries and 255 bike injuries alone. (Statistic from Safe Kids Worldwide Coalition Coordinator Erica Janes)
Keep these things in mind when buying a helmet:
- Look inside the helmet for a sticker that says CPSC or Snell Memorial Foundation. These indicate that the helmet meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Choose a bright or fluorescent color that will be visible to drivers and other cyclists.
- Look for a helmet that’s well-ventilated and lightweight.
- Make sure your child’s helmet fits correctly and can be adjusted. The straps should always be fastened so that the helmet can’t be pulled up or twisted.
- If you’re not sure about the fit of your child’s helmet, ask advice from someone at a bicycle store. You also can download the helmet fit test.