Her Voice: To helmet or not to helment
by Yolande Barial / For the Tracy Press
Mar 25, 2011 | 4043 views | 4 4 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This year my, children began riding bicycles to school. The three of them ride as many other children ride to school in Tracy — without helmets. 

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.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 27, 2011
We should see more like this one. Great article!

March 27, 2011
It seems to me there would be a great market for it if someone could invent a cheap simple device that would disable a childs bicycle if the kid on it did not have his helmet on. I am envisioning something like a little motor on the bike that would pull the breke cable tight if it were not receiving a short range wireless signal from a chip in the helmet. The chip would have to have sensor input on 1) closure of the chin strap, and 2) heat emanating from a head inside the helmet.
March 26, 2011
To helmet or not is not a question. If you are under 18 it is the law. If you are over 18 it is only smart. Head injuries not only injure but kill. If you do not feel the need to wear a helmet might I suggest that you sign your kids and self up to be an organ donor. Someone might as well get some good from your stupidity. Just because some don't wear them doesn't make it a good idea. Remember your Mom asking you the question about your friends jumping off a cliff. Helmets are as important as seatbelts in a car. Be a trend sett among you friends, and parents/adults be a good example to our youth. Wear a helmet when biking.
March 25, 2011
Good to know. I thought the law was age 14.

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