Bexley Passes Hemlet Law for Children

29 07 2010

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/07/28/copy/bexley-passes-bike-helmet-law-for-kids.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

“Anyone who lets a child bike in Bexley without a helmet now could face a $25 fine.

The Bexley City Council passed an ordinance last night similar to Columbus’ helmet regulations, although the Bexley law applies only to children younger than 16. It will go into effect in 30days.

The Columbus law, which applies to riders younger than 18, took effect last summer, but no one has been fined in its first year. Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman had opposed the law, saying it would require too much time and money to enforce.

Bexley Councilman Jed Morison said that even if no one is cited, such a law sends a message that parents should make sure that children are taking safety precautions.

Morison and his wife sponsor a bike-helmet coloring contest every year. He said he sees, as the superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the damage that brain injuries can do.

Having a law encourages residents to self-enforce, he said. For example, a family friend might see a child without a helmet and gently remind the parents that it’s against the law.

Councilman Richard Sharp supports helmet use, but he said several residents have told him a new law is excessive.

“More and more people are seeing the benefit of a helmet,” he said. “But parents should teach kids responsibility, not the government.”

He said having officers approach children could frighten youngsters and sour community relations with police.

Councilman Matt Lampke said he voted for the law because residents wanted it.

But he said it was a personal matter as well. When Lampke was 15, he recalled, his younger brother flew over the handlebars of a bike and landed on his head when another child’s bike ran into his.

“He was in a coma for days,” Lampke said. “Coming out of it, he had to learn to read and write all over again. It isn’t always death, but these things can be life-changing.”

Back then, wearing a helmet would have been considered odd, Lampke said. Today, it’s more socially acceptable.

If families worry about spending money on helmets, Lampke pointed out that several insurance companies will give clients vouchers to help them buy bike helmets.”

I’m also interested here that the City of Columbus law that was enacted hasn’t been enforced. I don’t want to start a helmet vs. no helmet debate, because I don’t care, but whats the point?

“Bexley Councilman Jed Morison said that even if no one is cited, such a law sends a message that parents should make sure that children are taking safety precautions.”

To me it sends the message that they arent interested in safety, they are interested in red tape, bureaucrac, and grandstanding for political gains. Wearing a helmet does not equate to safe riding, as we all know, you see plenty of muppets wearing helmets riding like idiots, on and off the sidewalk, passing between cars queued at a light, riding on the wrong side of the road, and on and on. If the city really wanted to make things safer for kids, or anyone riding a bike they would educate drivers and cyclists about operating safely in the road, lower speed limits, install traffic calming, sharrows, bike lanes, bike zones at lights, etc…advocating the notion that wearing a helmet somehow instantly makes you safer is irresponsible at best.

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3 responses

30 07 2010
Rod Rudinger

While I think militant cyclist is a little over the top with his comments, I would agree that more education is necessary, particularly of young cyclists. Helmets can prevent head injuries, but they are not a magic shield. Cyclists of any age must remember that they are riding vehicles (particularly very vulnerable vehicles) and MUST observe the laws and rules of the road which are there for their safety. They must also learn how to ride in traffic, be observant, and be prepared to execute escape or emergency manuevers to avoid being hit, if possible, by inattentive or ignorant motorists.

14 08 2010
Karen L. Lew

Heck, if I rode a bicycle regularly, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to find a hemlet to keep me safe.

26 06 2011
Eva

dude, helmets save lives, just like seat belts.

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