Bicycle safety emphasized

May is Ohio Bike Helmet Safety Month and the City of Marietta Health Department is partnering with the state to educate children and their parents about the importance of riding safely.

“We have a health department line item for $1,500 just for bike helmets and a grant that provides an additional 72 helmets,” said Vickie Kelly, director of nursing at the Marietta City Health Department.

The grant is through Put A Lid On It, a program through the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since 2011, the Ohio AAP has operated the campaign to promote Bike Helmet Safety Awareness and has given out more than 30,000 helmets.

“We have given away about 10 so far this month,” said Kelly. “On every Tuesday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., kids can come in to the health department to get fitted for a helmet.”

In 2010, the number of people injured by not wearing a bike helmet was 51,000 in Ohio. According to state statistics from Put A Lid On It, universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.

Assistant City Safety-Service Director Bill Dauber said he wholeheartedly supports the free helmet giveaway program that benefits both the city and its citizens.

“It is certainly in the best interest of kids to wear a helmet, but also from a city liability standpoint, should a mishap occur on the bike path or something, it’s a good faith effort for the city to promote safety,” he said.

Children 15 years of age or younger must by law wear a helmet to operate a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, roller blades, scooter or similar wheeled device within the city. The helmet is expected to be appropriately fitted to the size of the operator and shall meet or exceed the standards set by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) or SNELL (Snell Memorial Foundation).

Health officials also want the public to know that this month is not just for children.

“We will fit kids up and through age 18 and we know that parents who model wearing bike helmets increase the likelihood of children wearing their helmets,” said Kelly.

To learn more, visit OhioAAP.org, or the “Put A Lid On It” Facebook page, facebook.com/bikehelmetsafety or call Kim Ross, registered nurse at the Marietta City Health Department at 740-373-0611, ext. 2309.

By the numbers

¯ In 2010, the number of people injured by not wearing a bike helmet was 51,000 in Ohio.

¯ Currently in Ohio, estimates indicate that just 10 to 20 percent of children wear bike helmets, yet more than 70 percent of children ages 5 to 14 ride a bicycle regularly.

¯ Seventy-five percent of bike-related fatalities would be prevented with a helmet. Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and severe brain injury by 88 percent.

¯ Universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.

¯ A $10 bike helmet saves the health care system $41 per child.

Online: http://ohioaap.org/PutALidOn

COMMENTS