I was — like many parents who live in our commuter city and who must leave the house by 7 a.m. to get to the office — relying on what I have told my children about making sure they wear their helmets to school. Well, I was being lied to, as I am sure many reading this are being lied to.
My children don’t ride with their helmets unless I am standing in the garage when they leave the house. As I have begun observing other children riding around our city, I see only a handful of children who wear helmets. A large population of school children do not. The reason that my children give for not wearing their helmets is that there is no place to keep the helmets once they get to school.
Well, I did some digging and called the schools my children attend. In each school, there is a fenced place to park the bike and lock it up. However, there is no place to keep their helmets. Each of the school offices told me that kids have to carry the helmets in their backpacks, as there is no room to store them at school — and, of course, the helmets do not fit in their lockers.
After talking to other parents, I was informed that there is such a thing as a bicycle helmet lock. These locks allow the helmets to be locked onto the bike, and the bicycle is locked to the stand.
California law mandates all children under 18 are to wear helmets. I know that children should wear helmets, and I am sure you know that also. However, the law doesn’t get enforced. Police officers have way too many serious crimes to bother about a preventative one — however, it is necessary.
My perspective is not from the realm of science, it is from the heart of a mother. A mother who had a mother like me, who did what she was supposed to do to make sure her children were healthy and productive and to make sure they make it to adulthood with a minimum number of broken limbs — in this case, a minimum amount of head trauma. I would rather err on the side of the possibility that the helmet may save their lives than be forced to live in sheer agony with the possibility that it could have saved their lives.
We are stewards of our children. We make all the decisions, pay all the bills, perform all manner of doctor duties and discipline and bring the love. To helmet or not to helmet — now that really is the question.
• Yolande Barial is a mom and Tracy resident.