A study finds that from 2001 to 2003, only 48% of children between the ages of 5-14 wore helmets while riding their bikes. Older children are less likely to wear helmets than younger children. The study goes on to say that in 2010, there were approximately 515,000 bike-related injuries and 800 bicyclists were killed. Half of these were children under the age of 20.
The New York Daily News reports that minority children and children in poverty are even less likely to wear helmets. They found that out of 7,678 bicycle accidents involving children, only 22% were wearing helmets. In their research, minority children are 62% less likely to wear helmets, and kids covered by Medicaid are 67% less likely to wear helmets than kids with private insurance. Half the children surveyed were at least 11, and again, older children were less likely to wear helmets.
300 children die from these accidents every year according to this study.
It’s no myth that we’re a country influenced by advertisement. It’s estimated that $194 billion was spent on US advertisement in 2016 alone. In 1970, approximately 37.4% of adults smoked. One year later, cigarette commercials were banned. That percentage went down to 16.8% in 2014. Think about the last time you saw a bicycle helmet commercial.
In 2012, Boston decided to tackle this issue with its No Excuses campaign, featuring images around town of gruesome accidents. This went downhill as more people were scared into not riding bikes at all.
Only 22 states have laws regarding bike helmets and youth. In Arizona, there isn’t a statewide law, but Flagstaff, Pima County, Sierra Vista, Tucson, and Yuma all require helmets for those under 18 years of age. An Australian advertisement made news when it showed a Dutch bike rider wearing a helmet. This is because while not wearing a helmet in Sydney earns you a $234 fee, Amsterdam doesn’t even consider helmets as safety measure.
How to Encourage Older Kids to Wear Helmets
- When gifting an older child a bike, be sure to include the helmet with it.
- Let your child pick out a helmet, rather than forcing one on them.
- Lead by example. If you’re a bike rider, allow your child to see you wearing a helmet.
What to do When Your Child is Hurt
After the 911 call and hospital visit, parents could be left with a medical bill they weren’t prepared for. They might not know they can seek legal help and that bicycle accidents do fall under personal injury claims. Has your child been seriously injured from a bicycle accident? Call The Silkman Law Firm at (602) 535-5899 for a free consultation, or visit our website to learn more about bicycle accident claims.