Should elementary schools require bike helmets?

Yeah, my kid had more than enough issues with teachers wielding power over the students (and enjoying it, which often made them present it as “I’m in charge! You have no say.”).

One more thing for “Nurse Ratchet” to yell at them about would’ve just made him resent school even more.

Now, that kid and his friends only biked about five blocks to school, and all on residential streets. I would’ve loved it if they’d worn helmets, but when local parents enforced that, the kids just hung their helmets from the handlebars as soon as they got out of sight. By the time skateboarding came along, we’d given up.

Good news: LOTS of injuries, but none of them to the head.

Yes, while at the school. Unless a school-operated bus is involved they are not operating In Loco Parentis until that child gets to the school.

“The science around (bicycle) helmet safety is questionable at best.”

Well said. Thank you.

I haven’t had any questions about bicycle helmet safety since I had a bad accident that cracked my helmet. I have no doubt that without one, I’d have some brain damage.

Oh, and that doesn’t include the times I’ve been hit by cars. All close to home.

So me? Yeah, I need a helmet … but if I were a schoolkid and my principal said I had to wear one, I wouldn’t.

is that your opinion or can you back that up???

You’re partially right there, bike helmets are not construction helmets & construction helmets are not bike helmets & their usage is significantly different, in a construction accident, typically the head is relatively stable & something falls into the head whereas in a bike accident, it’s more typical to have the head moving & have that collide into a stationary object, be that the ground, a pole/post, or a car; therefore, among their differences, bike helmets have straps to keep them attached to your head when your body goes flying where construx helmets don’t.

How is that different from what I said?

I don’t think that a school can legally mandate student behavior off campus. They could mandate that students wear helmets but, as soon as the kids leave the school grounds, they could take them off with impunity.

You may have already noticed that some of these people are going to misquote or mischaracterize anything you say that doesn’t support their agenda. They will try to wear you down with minutiae and rambling posts totally devoid of logic while claiming you are the one being illogical. Kind of a variation on the Chewbacca defense, I think. Don’t waste a lot of effort on them; they will not stop and it will eventually become clear that this is an argument you cannot win because it makes no sense.

You said your piece and said it well, naysayers be damned. Your thoughts on this are a bright, shining example of what the Dope used to be. Please carry on, but don’t waste your energy on those will not learn.

“is that your opinion or can you back that up?”

Yes, that is my opinion. My questions back up that it is questionable (more or less by definition).

Funnily enough, I have direct experience with helmets, bike riding, and concussions. When I was in elementary school, you weren’t “allowed” to ride your bike to school until you were in the 3rd grade and had passed the school’s bike safety test. They gave us a card and everything but I don’t know that anyone was actually enforcing the rules. Regardless, we were also all supposed to wear helmets too. When I was in the 5th grade, I had picked out a cool purple helmet. I thought it was great until the least cool kid in my grade got the exact same one. I could not be seen wearing it for fear of the destruction it would do to my reputation as being at least a little cool. So I didn’t wear it all that year. One day, I was riding home from school, hit a rock in the road at just the right angle and fell off my bike, breaking my arm and giving me a concussion. I don’t remember directly most of what happened the rest of the day due to my being concussed but, suffice it to say, I don’t wish it on my children.

(As a note, I still didn’t wear my helmet after my accident. I guess my injuries weren’t enough for me to risk my social status.)

When talking about cycling and helmets it is important to remember that it might make sense for an individual to wear a helmet, helmet mandates do not make sense at all.
If one kid in the school refuses to ride to school because of the helmet mandate, that very real damage to that one kid’s health will outweigh the potential health benefits of the helmets for the rest of the school. Further, history shows that it won’t be just one kid.

I’m not arguing YOU shouldn’t wear a helmet. Do whatever you like. I’m arguing you shouldn’t try to force OTHERS to wear a helmet: that will have unintended consequences that will far outweigh any benefits from the helmets.

I am also arguing that I find blanket statements like “helmets reduce this or that risk by x%” more than a little suspect. Doesn’t the quality of the helmet matter? What about Ill-fitting helmets? What about helmets that have degraded due to UV or are old? Why is there no solid data on any of that? Why does every helmet manufacturer claim helmets degrade, but none have an expiration date?(would that be inconvenient for the dealers?) What about a sticker that changes color when it has seen too much UV?

I think helmets as they are marketed now are little more than fashion accessories.

Again: I wear a helmet when I’m on my road bike, the potential upsides for me are bigger than the negatives. But to suggest there is solid evidence for the effectiveness of helmets is ludicrous. Compared to what?

The pro peloton has been wearing helmets for some years now. Nobody thought to collect the relevant data comparing the before and after. This suggests nobody really wants to know. And others just want to sell helmets, preferably without pesky certification, testing or inventory management. It is clear to me who is winning this little propaganda war. The last innovation in the safety space (MIPS) is already decades old. If safety was the driver here wouldn’t there be a MIPS-2 or 3?

Play Littlefinger’s (from GoT) little game and imagine what helmet development would look like if safety was the driver and what helmet development would look like if it is just about marketing. Then look at what’s happening and draw you conclusions.

If you want to make the kids going to that school safer and more healthy, stop talking helmets and start talking protected bike paths.

I think there are some good studies on helmet safety. I think schools should first and foremost educate. In an above post I alluded to holding afternoon rodeos where cyclists learn hand signals and the rules of the road. This approach seems wise. They should say their piece about safety with an occasional reminder. But enforcement is not the primary job of a teacher and likely should not be so.

If you dislike helmets, surely you still agree cyclists should know the rules of the road, basic signals, maintenance and such. No?

Not a scientific study – a blog post about pro cyclists and helmets.

Deaths increased when helmets became mandatory. You can count them yourself: List of racing cyclists and pacemakers with a cycling-related death - Wikipedia

For what it’s worth, it’s quite common, routine even, for schools to regulate the behavior of students traveling to and from school. For another common example, if two students get into a fight on the way home from school, they’ll face school discipline for that.

If helmets are the law, they could ask the police to come write tickets for kids without helmets. (Or give warnings). Cops won’t do it every day, but once or twice a semester would make an impression.

off-topic post

What’s with Yanks wanting to randomly punish people excessively to “set an example” or “make an impression”?

Are you under the impression that that ever worked? Or do you think the cops will just grab the first black kid and you are ok with that?

Modnote: This is pretty close to accusing the prior poster of being racist. Please try to avoid such questions.

This is just a guidance, not a warning. Nothing on your permanent record.


off-topic post

Involving law enforcement to enforce your desire for kids to wear helmets is not racist?
Can I come over to your timeline? From here it seems attractive.

Do not argue moderation in thread. If you must, bring it to ATMB.