During the primo bicycling season, it's not unusual to see families out on bike rides together.
Usually they select off-road infrastructure, which is a wise choice when small children are in the group.
It warms my heart when parents seem to be trying to teach their kids - to ride on the right, in a straight, predictable path, etc. That knowledge will make them much safer and more confident when they venture onto the roads. (And it's not always the case. Some adults just let the kids go... as long as the head-count is correct, that's all they seem to notice.)
Almost always the kids have their helmets on, too, which is wonderful. It's best to ingrain such habits at an early age.
BUT - frequently the grownups in the group are NOT wearing helmets.
- Is the adult skull much more resistant to forceful impacts than the youthful skull?
- Do these adults possess the cycling skill-set and cat-like reflexes that enable them to avoid all unexpected incidents? (Because I know from experience... on those rare occasions when you truly need a helmet, there's never time to quickly strap one on!)
- Is helmet-wearing an immature thing?
- Do adults suffer from helmet-hair in a way that kids just don't understand?
I wish it weren't so... "Do as I say, not as I do" isn't the best teaching methodology.
Yeah, I don't know why the helmet thing, whether for bikes or motorcycles, is such an emotional, "personal" thing. But it is, so I don't pursue it, despite the fact that I'm married to a physical therapist who works around head-injury cases all the time.
Will a helmet prevent all head injuries? No. Will it prevent many? Yes.
CHILDREN: I am pleased to be taking my 5-year old son on the road for a bit of riding. I figure if I gently introduce him to the world of utility riding, he'll have over a decade of it under his belt before he learns to drive a car, and he'll be an excellent driver.
HELMETS: I am a wishy-washy wearer. I wear one when I'm riding with my son, as does he. I wear one sometimes when I ride by myself. I am aware of the safety issues, but the statistics just don't sway me every time. Even when, on a hot day, I decide to forgo it, I do so fully recognizing, and accepting, the risks. And, I'm a contrarian to the core, so the more year-round cyclists I know wear them daily, the louder the voice of discord inside me becomes. I plan to die in a gunfight, so the helmet won't help me there anyway.
My comment was intended to mostly be a jab at adults who require their kids to wear a helmet on group rides, but have a different standard for themselves.
Regarding the wearing of helmets...
Since I've been riding motorcycles for 40+ years, I've been exposed to the "pro" and "con" arguments of helmet-wearing for a LONG time. I've been through times when they were legally required, right here in Idaho. I prefer to let adults choose whether or not to wear 'em. I've been REALLY glad on 3 occasions that I recall - once on motorcycle, twice on bicycle - that I had chosen to wear a helmet on that ride. (As I do on essentially all rides; I feel nekkid without it at this point.)
//devil's advocate on//
The notion that it's hypocritical to not wear a helmet while requiring your kids to wear one is a slippery slope, methinks.
It's akin to using "adult" language around a kid. My son, around whom I use "adult" language on occassion, knows full well that there are things it's "ok" for adults to say, but not for kids -- and he's never pushed the issue. The notion that the rules for kids are different than the rules for adults was lost, perhaps, when the idea of kids being little adults spread through western society. I'm somewhat old-fashioned, in that I think it's OK for a kid to have to have different rules, and to know they're kids, and not little adults.
//devil's advocate off//
My thinking on it was that so long as no one says I have to wear one, I'll wear one... but the moment some governmental body decides they have the right to try and expound on what they think is good for me and try to order me to wear one... well then, I think at that point I'll have all sorts of trouble finding mine when it comes time to ride.
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