Helmet Safety on Reservations and should react.
From cruising the paved streets to going off- Indian children
road, biking is fun, easy to do and is a great grow up thinking
form of exercise, but certain precautions that wearing a
need to be taken when going out on the helmet is not
reservation roads and trails. “cool” or it is
restricting and takes away from the freedom
American Indians/Alaskan Natives of the ride. While parents and community
are three times more likely to suffer members make the best role models for
injury or death than any other ethnic children, living under high stress conditions
group.¹ such as impoverished and violent
communities can put enforcing helmet use
Helmet use is alarming low on tribal lands with their children on the low end of the
and in rural areas in general. This is in large priority list. While enforcement helps, it is
part due to the fact that resources in rural ultimately up to the child to decide to wear
communities are limited and therefore local the helmet each time they ride.
law enforcement often does not have the
time or staff to make regular patrols and Where and When Bicycle Death
enforce the helmet laws of their state or
and Injuries Occur
Similar to motor vehicle crashes, the
Children and Bikes average bicycle crash occurs most often
within one mile of the home. Busy streets,
For kids a bicycle is their first vehicle and cycling at night and lack of authoritative
one of the first ways to explore the outside patrol (i.e. a community watch program or
world independently. Parents and tribal/local police) creates a number of
guardians of children should make sure that obstacles for cyclists and motorists alike.
their child has the appropriate bike and fitted
helmet for their age. In addition children While many states have adopted laws to
should also learn basic rules of the road to enforce helmet use this is not always enough
learn to scan their environment for hazards to convince people that helmet use is
to prevent serious injury.Although children important. Educating the community about
learn incredibly fast, young children do not how helmet use can prevent or significantly
see traffic in the same way as adults and do reduce the chance of brain injury can be a
not yet have a fully developed sensory powerful intervention tool.
perception. This makes it hard for children
to perceive how fast a vehicle is
approaching and how fast they
¹Centers for Disease Control. Injuries Among Native Americans: Fact Sheet
http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/nativeamericans.htm . Accessed 7/1/2008
Why Helmets Work stopping, looking both ways, using the
universal hand signals to indicate turns and
With the proper fit, safety approved helmets riding in narrow spaces. This is also a great
for bike, motorcycle, ATV or multi-sport event to distribute helmets since most states
use can reduce head injuries by as much as now require that children under 18 must be
85%.² Bike crashes, especially those wearing a helmet if on a bike.
resulting in head injuries, threaten the safety
and future development of children. Learning the functions of the brain can also
be a fun and fascinating topic of discussion
Children with even a mild head injury may for a young audience. Colorful handouts,
have difficulty with memorization and gelatin brain molds and some brain teasers
comprehension for the rest of their life. are a great way to engage kids in a
Symptoms of behavior problems can classroom like setting.
develop as much as one year after the injury
occurred. Mild head injury can also create How to Use this Tool
difficulty learning verbal, abstraction, and
reasoning skills depending on what area of In this section of the tool kit you will find a
the brain was injured. presentation to educate your community.
Brochures, Fact Sheets and Buying guides to
What You Can Do in Your hand out at community events and
Community observation forms to start tracking the
helmet use rate in your area.
Getting the word out about the importance
of bike and helmet safety is fun and easy to You can run copies of the materials included
do. One way to get the youth involved is to or download the file from the CD and
have bike workshops, showing kids how to change the information to fit your local
properly check the brakes and general community. Take advantage of the free
mechanics of their bike. When you do not resources available to you.
have first hand knowledge, ask the experts!
Visit your local bike shops and ask if they Be sure to check out the bike safety resource
would be interested in providing list to find where to get low cost helmets,
demonstrations to kids on proper bike videos, and some other additional materials
maintenance. you may want to purchase if you decide to
start a program.
Another fun activity for youth is the bike
rodeo. Bike rodeos are a great way to get
kids on their bikes, have fun and learn some
rules of the road. Different obstacle courses
are set up and monitored while children are
instructed on how to navigate the course
using the proper techniques including
²Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. Helmet Related Statistics from Many Sources
http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm . Accessed 2/7/2008