Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where Are The Helmets?

Biking is catching on.

Maybe it's the high gas prices.

Maybe it's the environmentalists.

Maybe it's the exercise.

Whatever it is, I'm pretty okay with it. (Although they do make me nervous as a driver when we share the road.)

I just want to know ONE thing: Where are the helmets??

For some reason, these Yeshiva bachurim are under the impression that their black hats will protect them as well -- if not better than -- their helmets.

I understand this poses a problem for boys who want to ride their bikes to yeshiva and don't want a dorky basket on their bikes. They can't leave it in Yeshiva because they need it for Maariv.

Biking to school is a good idea. But what happens with the helmet/hat scenario?

I also see young children rollerblading through the streets without helmets.

I don't get it.

Do these parents teach their kids that it's better to look "cool"while risking their lives and health than to look like a dork for an hour (or however long they're out)??

I have seen fathers biking with their sons, ALL wearing helmets. (I seriously wanted to stop the guy and tell him how much I respect him and what a good example he's setting, but I'm not 80. And I'm not THAT weird.)

If the parents do it themselves and set an example for their kids, they'll be more likely to do so. Peer pressure is one thing when it comes to a belt or a shirt, but helmets are another story.

So you might say the parents sent the kid out with a helmet, but they took it off. Somehow I doubt that.

How many unfortunate accidents C"V would it take for these kids to realize the importance of helmets?

" of children hospitalized for a bicycle-related injury were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, a statistic that is significant for its correlation to the number of injuries that may be preventable through the use of bicycle helmets."


At 5/29/2008 4:58 AM, Blogger katrina said...

It's not just yeshivah bochurim, Michelle. I don't live in NYC--actually, I live in a super-liberal city that is essentially the opposite of Flatbush--and almost no one here wears a helmet either. I, too, shake my head in wonderment about that.

At 5/29/2008 7:22 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

"So you might say the parents sent the kid out with a helmet, but they took it off. Somehow I doubt that."
No reason to doubt it. At a certain age I refused to wear a helmet, though my parents insisted and I wasn't even frum at the time.

At 5/29/2008 8:58 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Jessica--no, I don't doubt that it happens, but since it's to such a large degree, I feel that it doesn't make up for all the kids who don't wear helmets.

Also, perhaps I was unclear in my implications. I didn't imply that this is a problem unique to the frum community. Just wanted to clarify that :)

At 5/29/2008 11:05 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

michelle - it is "uncool" to wear a helmet. There a very few kids who really don't care about being cool. There's no doubt in my mind that 3/4 of kids without helmets are going against their parents permission.

At 5/29/2008 11:06 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

*against their parents wishes (not permission... apparently I'm illiterate... maybe it's from all those years of not wearing a helmet. :-P )

At 5/29/2008 11:57 AM, Anonymous ike said...

Agreed- I have a couple of points to add:

Again, depends on kids vs. adults - I don't think it's a big deal if an experienced, adult rider doesn't wear a helmet. A helmet is much more uncomfortable than a seatbelt, and I would guess that the risk of injury is lower, again, depending on how you ride. If you're on a bike ripping through traffic on Flatbush Ave., your odds are not good.

Keep in mind other risk factors - I recently saw someone biking with headphones on - that's a terrible idea, because you can't hear cars coming from behind you, etc.

And in terms of setting an example, there are a bunch of things that adults can do and kids can't, simply due to safety - driving a car is one example.

That said, there's no reason young kids should be riding without a helmet. And that should apply to rollerblading too.

At 5/29/2008 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, for one, am surprised that the rabbeim in the yeshivos don't make it a rule that if you ride a bike to yeshiva, you must wear a helmet.

Then again, maybe they're so thrilled that the kid is wearing a hat in the street that to heck with his safety.

At 5/29/2008 3:49 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

anon 3:32-- 1000% I agree with you.

At 5/29/2008 4:34 PM, Blogger Kaila said...

just in case anyone's interested, any brain injury can result in epilepsy later on in life EVEN IF THE PERSON SEEMS TO HAVE COMPLETELY RECOVERED. telling people that brain injuries can occur is not nearly as effective as having them research the possible affects of brain injuries. seriously scary. if my kids don't wear helmets, their bikes will be confiscated.

At 5/30/2008 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anoynymous who writes that rebbeim are happy that they're students are wearnig hats in the street so to heck with helmets: you're really an idiot. you may disagree with rebbeim's attitudes towards things but don't be a moronic fool who thinks rebbeim would rather a hat over a helmet. i know you were probably just being a wise guy, but your comment reveals your antipathetic attitude towards the yeshiva world. you can call rebbeim a lot of things but don't say that they don't care about their talmidim. they may be closed minded and annoying, but they are caring.

At 5/30/2008 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

their instead of they're yeh i know

At 6/01/2008 12:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't there laws about this already? What more do you want? You can't FORCE people to stay alive. (Don't forget the old Seinfeld joke - Helmet laws are to protect those brains that are too stupid to willingly wear a helmet.)

At 6/01/2008 12:57 AM, Anonymous Tzurva Merabanan said...

Aren't there laws about this already? What more do you want? You can't FORCE people to stay alive. (Don't forget the old Seinfeld joke - Helmet laws are to protect those brains that are too stupid to willingly wear a helmet.)

At 6/01/2008 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To IY"H:

I think you're being a bit naive. Yes, some rabbeim care about their students, but others don't. Otherwise, how do you explain why they don't make it a yeshiva rule?

At 6/02/2008 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anonymous who just posTed:
i may be naive but you're illogical:
parents who don't require their children to wear a helmet don't love them?

At 6/03/2008 8:04 PM, Anonymous megapixel said...

my kid's yeshiva has that rule. its a no brainer.
my second point is that your little diatribe is another sample of people without children being the best parents- you guys have all the answers

At 6/03/2008 8:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

MP- It's not a diatribe. It's a mere statement of how I feel. I barely used CAPS. That wasn't yelling...besides, I said the kids "will be more likely to do so." Obviously there could be children who don't follow their parents example, but many parents don't set the example to begin with.

How old is your son? What happens when it comes to the black hat (if it is that kind of yeshiva) and he needs to have it there for shacharit, but home for maariv?

At 6/03/2008 9:02 PM, Blogger Bas~Melech said...

As a teacher of reckless little bikers, I can pretty safely vouch for these facts:
1. It is highly possible for a parent to send a child out with a helmet which the child immediately removes and hangs from his handlebars.
2. It is also possible for parents to encourage helmet use enough to outweigh cool, and
3. Helmet use does not have to be "uncool" and adults CAN influence this factor.

Lecturing kids about the dangers of head trauma is not enough. Kids think it won't happen to them. More effective is having your bike locked up for a week because your parent saw you using it without a helmet.

At 6/04/2008 9:11 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

BM--I agree. If the helmet is hanging from the handlebars, that's what goes through my mind. "At the least the parent tried..." But many times the helmet is nowhere in sight! That's when I worry more.

At 6/14/2008 8:04 PM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

I've been riding in NYC for the past 5 years and my helmet saved me countless times.

At 6/17/2008 9:32 AM, Anonymous Hesh said...

I have noticed the exact opposite in Monsey, all the little chassidic kids ride bikes with helmets, the older kids dont have to because the beaver hats are much more solid then bend down hats. Bend downs crush on impact and all the sudden they are considered Lubavitch.

At 6/26/2008 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I found a kindred spirit! This drives me CRAZY! No one wears helmets anymore. I don't even see the little kids wearing them, never mind the cool big kids. It really, really bothers me.

At 7/01/2008 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name my husband gave to the head-trauma unit of the hospital when he was a medical student: the vegetable garden. No, you do not want yourself or your kids to end up there. Wear the freakin' helmet already!


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