School's Out: Do You Know Where Your Child's Bike Helmet Is?

by Stern Dixon, CR Legal Team Marketing Director

Drew Wright, a 14-year-old high school freshman from Charlotte, was killed on May 29 while riding his bike to school. He was struck by a delivery truck after he lost control of his bike and veered into the roadway. The news report said Drew wasn’t wearing a bike helmet.

Whether a helmet would have saved Drew’s life is debatable. On Saturday, avid cyclist John Trexler of Charlotte died in the hospital after a traumatic brain injury he sustained while riding his bike with a cycling club on a rural Cabarrus County road. Trexler was doing everything right, including wearing a helmet.

In one recent study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, ninety-one percent of cyclists killed during the study year weren’t wearing a helmet.

As I left the office for home last Friday, I passed three groups of children on bicycles. None of the more than a dozen youth wore bike helmets. The last group of children I saw were between 10-13 years old. They were wearing bathing suits and headed for a neighborhood swim club less than a mile from where Drew Wright died.

The price of homes in the neighborhood surpasses $1 million. The average price for a bike helmet is $25 – well less than most of the parents in this neighborhood spend watering their lawn a month.

Since late 2001, in North Carolina, children under the age of 16 are required by law to wear a bike helmet when riding on any public road, bike path or other public right-of-way. Parents who knowingly allow their child to ride without a helmet are subject to a $10 fine. A minor fall on a bike can rack up more than that in Bandaids and Bactine alone.

Those of us in the personal injury law business see the devastating effects of cycling injuries on a regular basis. At CR Legal Team we believe strongly enough in preventing them that we’ve given away nearly 6,000 helmets to children over the past five years. Last December, CR Legal Team served as the official helmet sponsor of The Spokes Group, a non-profit agency based in Charlotte that donate bicycles and helmets to needy children during the holiday season. Through our association with the group, we donated more than 1,600 helmets to budding cyclists in Charlotte and Raleigh.

As summer break begins, CR Legal Team urges parents of cycling youth – and skateboarders, scooter riders and even tricycle riders – to ensure their children have a bike helmet as part of their required summer attire. And that the helmet fits and children know the proper way to wear it. A $25 helmet may be the best investment your family ever makes.

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