Children's bike helmet law

Children's bike helmet law

State law requires children under sixteen to wear helmets while bike riding, but not all cities or parents are enforcing it.
Reports show there are more emergency-related cases for children ages five to 14 for bike injuries than any other sport.
Reports show there are more emergency-related cases for children ages five to 14 for bike injuries than any other sport.
Jeffrey Coleman, owner of The Bike Store, stands in front of a row of crashed helmets collected from people involved in bicycle accidents.
Jeffrey Coleman, owner of The Bike Store, stands in front of a row of crashed helmets collected from people involved in bicycle accidents.
It's a state law local authorities and many parents don't enforce: children under sixteen are required to wear helmets while bike riding, but not all cities or parents are enforcing it.  In fact, most people you come across in Dothan say they grew up riding without helmets, and they say keeping an eye on your children is usually enough.

"We've just always taken an active role in teaching our kids.  From the minute they wanted to learn to ride a bike, we've always been outside with them,” said Laura Young, who was enjoying the afternoon at Westgate Park with her infant son and watching her daughters ride their bikes.  “They wore helmets when they were smaller, when they were learning to ride, but we feel pretty confident there.  They ride pretty well, but we've always been outside with them,”

But if you walk into The Bike Store on 110 Park West Circle in Dothan, store owner Jeffrey Coleman will show you his wall display of crashed helmets collected from people and children involved in bicycle accidents.

"If you see some of them, they are pretty beat up, like the one I have in my hand here,” Coleman said, describing a grey, damaged helmet with a war-torn appearance.  “I've marked spots on it where it's been cracked and dented where the person that was wearing it impacted the ground.  And if he hadn't been wearing this helmet, there's a good chance he would have been killed or badly injured."

Reports show there are more emergency-related cases for children ages five to 14 for bike injuries than any other sport.

"I had an uncle that didn't have his bicycle helmet on, and he ended up being blinded from the brain injury he had," said Danny Jenkins, as he explained why he’s worn a helmet for years and requires his son to wear one.

"It's good for people that are new beginners because you may like fall and hurt your head and get brain injury," said Danny’s ten-year-old son, Michael Jenkins.

Bike safety experts say your child should not only wear a helmet, but you should make sure it's properly fitted.  For information on children's helmet fitting or bike safety, you can visit the Children's of Alabama website at www.childrensal.org/thinkfirst.
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