OUR VIEW MAY 22: Cyclists and motorcyclists should wear a helmet

It's the law and it's logical, but not everyone who cycles wears a helmet and they should.

People driving by the lot across from the street from the soon-to-be-demolished Winnipeg Hotel needn’t be worried by the mass of black leather and Harley Davidsons on Saturday.

It isn’t a gathering of some unruly biker gang, it is the motorcycle show and shine event that promotes motorcycle safety, as May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.

It’s rare to see a motorcyclist or biker not wearing a helmet of some sort around town and the majority of bicycle riders are responsible enough to wear helmets but there are still some riding around with their heads exposed.

Much like a seatbelt, some may feel that putting on a helmet (a certified, approved helmet) may be cumbersome or an annoyance but it can save someone’s life.

After all, trauma to the head can cause permanent damage and even a plastic shell around your head can help absorb pressure if you should hit your head.

According to the Canada Safety Council, a helmet can prevent up to 88 per cent of serious head injuries that occur from crashes and trafficsafety.org says close to 70 per cent of fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries.

With those types of numbers, it is unfathomable that people would choose not to wear a helmet when riding their bikes; nevertheless, trafficsafety.org points to only 20 to 25 per cent of bicyclists wearing helmets.

And much like the seatbelt, the reasons are numerous for not wearing a helmet.

Cost, not liking the way wearing a helmet looks and comfort are reasons that some cite as why they don’t wear helmets, but when you consider the consequences, how can one not wear a bike helmet?

Injuries can include slurred speech and headaches as well as death.

Besides preventing injury, another reason to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle or motorcycle is it’s the law.

According to the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act, the helmet must be “designated as an approved bicycle safety helmet …”

Parents or guardians of people under 16 must ensure that they are wearing helmets as well.

People may complain about wearing a bicycle helmet and not like it but wearing one could save your life.

– The Grand Forks Gazette