Cycling Safety

SUMMER IS winding down, but officials in the state of Ohio are taking action to raise awareness about safety issues while decent weather is still around.

This week, Ohio will be taking part in its first official “Wear Your Bike Helmet to Work or School Day.” The observation takes place on Wednesday for the first time, and this observation will be made on an annual basis thereafter.

The observation comes through the efforts of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a resolution into law in April ensuring the observation will take place every year.

Decades ago, wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle was uncommon. Of course, wearing a seat belt was optional, too, until it became state law in 1986. Before then, many motorists chose not to utilize their seat belts when riding in a motor vehicle.

But times change, and people change with the times. The same can be said when it comes to bicycle safety.

Recent studies have proven that by wearing a helmet, people can reduce the risk of head trauma by 85 percent.

Last year, 51,000 people suffered injuries as a result of not taking necessary safety precautions. These troubling statistics have elevated national advocacy efforts related to bicycle safety.

The observation takes place at the end of summer, when students are back in school and the weather is still suitable for bike riding. Holding the observation during school gives educators and opportunity to encourage children to practice safe biking at an early age.

State Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) representing Monroe County and other area counties in the 20th district, is an avid cycling enthusiast who encourages the use of helmets. Balderson applauded the work of Ohio AAP.

Strapping on a helmet is effortless, Balderson noted, but far too few cycling enthusiasts realize its importance.

We encourage cyclists of all ages to use their heads – and their helmets – to enjoy a safe ride.