Are You Setting the Best Example When Not Wearing a Bicycle Helmet?

Video Transcription:

Jim Dodson: Hi, it's Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. Welcome to our LiveCast. I wanna talk to you this morning about setting the best example as a parent, riding your bikes with your kids.

I'm a big advocate for bicycle riding. I'm a rider myself. I ride multiple times a week. But one of the things I see most frequently are families riding together, but the dad or the mom, especially the dad, so many times, is not wearing a helmet. And I get it, that some people don't think it's cool. There's this issue that maybe you're riding in the neighborhood, we're not going very fast. We're just riding with the kids. We're not gonna leave the area. We're gonna be within several blocks of our home. There's nothing that's going to happen to us in this area that's going to affect me, so I don't need a helmet. Sort of what I hear so many times from parents.

But riding a bicycle as a family is probably one of the best activities that you can do because it's something you can all to together. Everyone gets to do it at their own speed. I've got grandkids that are on the pusher bikes, where you're pedaling with your feet on the ground, up to teenagers that can ride practically as fast as I can. So family riding is a tremendous activity. There's a lot of places to go, a lot of things to see. It gives the kids a great sense of freedom, independence, trains them on responsibility, gets them some understanding of being out there on the road with traffic or riding on the sidewalk, wherever you are. So I'm a huge advocate for cycling, and for cycling as a family, 'cause I think very few activities we do can pull us all together quite like cycling does. It's a mode of transportation. It's exercise. It's fresh air. It's independence. It's exhilarating. It's all those things, and I think children are really drawn to it for much of those reasons as well. But it also has a dangerous component, and that is when things go unexpectedly.

So in our practice, I represent cyclists throughout Florida, the number one issue that I see, the most common result of someone having a crash on a bike, typically is a concussion. There are other issues that come along, other injuries that we see as well, but almost invariably, most cyclists end up with a concussion because they're riding, hit by a car typically, bike goes out, they hit the ground, they hit their head on the ground.

And I think many of us, many people who are casual riders, they're neighborhood riders, they're family riders, I think the perception is, we're not going that fast, we're not going out on the road with traffic. There just not the same danger element, and maybe there's the sense that I wanna save the money and not buy a helmet. I get all those things. But I don't want to overlook the fact that there is clearly an element of danger in cycling, only from the sense that you can hurt yourself extremely seriously falling off a bike at a very low speed.

Lemme give you a kind of an example. A program recently up in the central part of the state at a bike shop, and the bike shop owner is a bike racer. This is an experienced cyclist. He races. He knows how to handle himself on a bicycle. He and his daughter, riding their bikes in their neighborhood, very low speed, casual family ride. Fortunately they are wearing their helmets. What happened is the wheel of the bike behind brushed up against the wheel of the bike in front. This is kind of where your wheels cross. Not an uncommon event with multiple people riding a bike. They were going at very low speeds. They both went down. The crossing of the wheels caused both bikes to go down. You know what happened? He ended up with a fractured collarbone, had surgery. She ended up with a fractured wrist. And they both hit their heads and had to have their helmets replaced. So this is just like a classic example of a neighborhood low-speed, casual event that kinda took an unusual turn. But that's what we guard against. It's no different than buying insurance. Insurance is something we never hope to use, but we have it in case, and that's what a helmet is designed to do.

We had another example here in my own neighborhood. Several months ago, this is not a case that we're involved in, but there was a father riding a bike by himself at night, a casual ride on the sidewalk, heading back home, alone. A driver apparently pulled up to an intersection, and then just pulled across the intersection, the crosswalk, just enough so that they didn't see him, apparently, and he hit the side of the vehicle and fell to the ground and died from a head injury. He was not wearing a helmet. Again, someone who's taking a casual ride, not going at a great speed on the sidewalk, never expected that to happen.

So I'm not here to sort of build fear into anyone, but I'm just raising awareness to the fact that there are definitely some issues involved in being on a bike at all, and we just need to take reasonable precautions because a helmet will eliminate a significant amount of the danger involved in having a crash, especially if you get into the newer helmet technology which we make available on our website, MIPS or the new Trek WaveCel technology.

So riding as a family is fantastic, but riding does have an element of danger, and that I think that we need, as parents. I've raised two children. We have grandchildren. You and I both know that kids tend to do what we model more than what we say. So I'm just concerned for parents. So many times I see them on the road. The children have got their helmets on. They're riding safely. The parents are closely monitoring what they're doing. It's all great. They're all out there doing it together. But mom or dad, or both, not wearing a helmet. And I know that the parents are saying to the kids, "You have to have a helmet on," and the kids are wondering, in their mind I'm sure, so what about our parents? Why aren't they wearing a helmet? I'm just trying to raise awareness of this issue because it bothers me so badly.

I was, one time, taking a ride across Clearwater, the bridge in Clearwater here, going out to the beach, and I saw a young man coming down the bridge with a child in a car seat, sitting sort of in front of him on a bicycle. The child must have been less than two years old. The child had no helmet on. The dad had no helmet on. And when you're going down a bridge like these, you can easily get up, even a casual rider not pedaling, can get up to 20 or 25 miles an hour. I was just like, man, do you realize the danger you're putting this child into?

So I want this message to be a positive one, but I want us, as parents and grandparents, to set the right example. Do the right thing. Get a helmet. Get away from the idea that you don't need it or that it's maybe not as cool. Wear the helmet because, at the end of the day, you'll never understand, you'll never forgive yourself, if the unexpected happens and it could've been so easily prevented, and particularly, you're setting the best example for your kids.

So join us in kinda raising the awareness of this issue with your friends. If you see them, talk about it. Send them to our website. Send them to this LiveStream. Let 'em listen to some of the issues involved. Like I say, I'm not here to scare people, but I do want people to be aware. It's just such an easy thing to do. Helmets are inexpensive and they prevent the most common injury we see in cycling.

We're going to make a resource available for you today. It's our Cycling Essentials. Kati is gonna run a link across the bottom. You can get it on our website, or you can call us and we'll send it to you, but it'll talk about helmet technology and some of the other things we talk about in our, when we interact with cyclists.

I'm Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. I hope you've enjoyed the program today. If I can help in any way, just call us. We're here. We're only a phone call away. Be safe out there and let's set the best example. Take care. Bye.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.