A Bicycle Helmet May Save Your Life or Prevent a Life-Altering Injury.
As the weather gets nicer we are beginning to see many people out riding their bikes for enjoyment and exercise. What a great way to get out, stay active and enjoy the sunshine. We have been limited in our activities due to this pandemic and exercise is a key factor in relieving stress.
Each day we see many people, youths and adults alike, riding their bicycles, many of which are not always wearing their helmets. Our aim is to educate everyone on the safety benefits of wearing a properly fitting helmet and then legal requirements for our youths under the age of 18 to wear a safety helmet while riding a bicycle.
The helmet is not a fashion statement. It is a means to prevent or mitigate potentially catastrophic injuries to the head. Accidents can happen in an instant and are often unforeseen. Just as you would wear your seatbelt in your vehicle, please wear your helmet. A helmet hanging from the handlebar of your bike or left at home is of no use. We understand that some children succumb to peer pressure to not wear a helmet because it is not cool but we, as parents and guardians must teach our children from a young age that they must always wear their helmets when riding their bikes. Even the best and most experienced professional cyclists ALWAYS wear a helmet. It is, in our opinion, the single most important piece of bicycle safety equipment that should be worn by EVERYONE! Oftentimes, a fall or a crash from a bicycle, at any speed, results in banging your head in some fashion. The helmet is designed to absorb much of the impact thus saving you from a potentially serious head injury. After all, it is not your skin or your hair that you’re trying to protect, it is your brain, the control centre that controls absolutely EVERYTHING your body does. Serious head injuries do not discriminate by age. A brain injury may be life-altering or even fatal, so why wouldn’t you protect your most precious organ? How? It’s easy…wear your helmet!
If your helmet is damaged in a fall or from being dropped it must be replaced in order for it to be effective in protecting you.
The police cannot do this alone and we rely on each and every one of you to teach your children about the safety benefits of helmets and as well as the legal requirements to wear one. The easiest way to accomplish this is to lead by example by wearing your helmet and talking about it regularly with your children.
There is also a legal obligation by the parents or guardians of a youth under 16 years of age to ensure that an approved safety helmet is properly worn at ALL times while riding a bicycle.
See excerpts from the Highway Traffic Act below;
Bicyclists to wear a helmet
Highway Traffic Act of Ontario Section 104
(2.1) Subject to subsection 103.1 (2), no person shall ride or operate a bicycle on a highway (includes sidewalks by definition HTA) unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin.
Duty of parent or guardian
(2.2) No parent or guardian of a person under sixteen years of age shall authorize or knowingly permit that person to ride a bicycle, other than a power-assisted bicycle, on a highway unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet as required by subsection (2.1).
Please know that our goal as a police service and as a community partner is not to punish, but to prevent injuries before they occur through education first and enforcement where necessary.
Additional Resources for information and injury prevention:
Parachute Canada – Helmets