If you grew up in a time when the only thing kids wore helmets for was to play football, you may still think that we go a little overboard these days on child helmets. Here in California, the law requires anyone 18 years of age and under to wear a helmet while on a bicycle, roller skates, skateboard or scooter.
Young cyclists are required to wear a helmet even if they’re on a bike path or sidewalk. Children under five are required to wear them if even if they’re riding along on a mounted bike seat behind a parent or other person.
Besides being required, helmets help prevent some injuries
The purpose of helmets for any sport or activity is to help protect the head and the brain from serious injuries. For bicyclists, of course, the biggest risk of catastrophic injury comes from vehicles. A collision with a vehicle can cause a cyclist to strike their head on the ground, a tree, sign, fire hydrant or the vehicle itself.
Many people ask why helmets are required, whether for adults or kids if they can’t prevent all concussions. Despite what some less-reputable manufacturers might claim, there’s no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet. If your head strikes a surface hard enough – especially at a high velocity and with significant force – your brain will move within your skull. That’s what causes a concussion.
Besides being the law, it’s wise to require your child to wear a well-fitting helmet – and to be a good role model by doing the same. Having some protection on your head can help if you fall or are involved in a collision with a motorist because they can prevent or at least minimize cuts and skull fractures.
However, bicyclist-vehicle collisions can result in catastrophic injuries for cyclists of all ages. If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, it’s crucial that you don’t settle for less than the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled to cover medical treatment for as long as you need it.