To the Editor:
Recently as I was driving through Granby on Highway 40, I encountered a young man who was riding a bicycle against traffic on the sidewalk of the railroad bridge on the east end of town. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and was talking on a cell phone, meaning only one hand on the handlebars.
Some years ago I was a dispatcher in a 911 center one sunny summer afternoon when a call came in requesting an ambulance for a child who had fallen off a bicycle in a city park. It was easy to envision a child with a skinned knee or elbow and an hysterical mom, but it’s the dispatcher’s job to react rather than judge. So the ambulance was sent, and the child was transported to the hospital.
Awhile later, the ambulance crew called for their response times. That’s when we learned the child had died. He had been sitting perfectly still on his bike at a stop sign when he lost his balance and tipped over, striking his head on the sign post. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.
In the time since that event, the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries has been studied at length. There is no doubt a helmet can help minimize injury whether on a bike, motorcycle, horse, skateboard, skis, snowboard and a number of sporting events.
There’s plenty of summer left. Please, if your kids don’t have helmets, find them some and make sure they fit. Make sure their bikes are in good shape, and then teach them basic safety for riding. It only takes an instant for your family to be thrown into a lifetime of medical and financial hardship.