Is This You?

A Letter To The Parent Who Does Not Wear a Bike Helmet*:

Each time I see you on the road, “bare-headed”, following your children whose heads are safely ensconced in their own helmets, I cannot help but wonder what you are thinking…or if you are thinking at all.

Two things immediately come to my mind, the first being the idea that you are not setting a very good example for your children. The messages you are broadcasting to those wee ones by not wearing a helmet are “It is important for you to wear a helmet, but not so much for me” and “Do as I say but not as I do.” I am certain that you did not tell your children to wear their helmets for fashion reasons; rather, when asked “Mama (or Daddy), why do I have to wear this?” you probably answered, “because it’s to protect your head in case you fall.” What about your head? Do you think that, just because your gross motor skills are far more advanced than those of your offspring, you are somewhat immune to any sort of freak accident that might occur? Falling isn’t the only cause of head injury, you know. You could easily ride right into a car door that is being opened by an oblivious person. A car could run into you. You could lose control of the bike and ride into a tree. I could go on for days; I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories. Check out the statistics if you don’t believe me.

The second thing that comes to my mind is the Safety Speech made by flight attendants the world over. What have we been instructed to do, should the oxygen masks ever drop down from the overhead compartments? You remember; I know you do. We have to protect ourselves first and then our children. If we don’t protect ourselves first, something terrible could happen and our children would end up suffering a loss that is totally premature and ridiculously unnecessary. Why would you want to put your children in the position to possibly end up parentless?

I would be interested in hearing some sort of logic as to why you operate this way. The decision to outfit your kids with helmets while neglecting your own head had to be made actively at some point. Help me understand why somebody—a parent—would think this is okay.

I’m sure you are indeed a lovely person. I’m sure that you adore your children and want to be there for them as long as you can. Because of that, I wish you only the best. Please put your helmet on for the next ride.

Best Wishes,

*This letter is for you too, Parents Who Don’t Wear Seat Belts!


  • Melisa

    Ha! Well, of course you know that you should so I won’t say any more about that, but AT LEAST you don’t give her mixed messages (you are all in danger together! ha ha???) 🙂

  • Sue

    I particularly love when kids/adults wear a helmet, but don’t buckle them. Because that is so safe and smart!

  • Michelle

    It’s so funny because when we grew up, helmets didn’t even exist. It’s a hard concept to grasp how much things have changed. But yes, I wear a helmet when I ride my bike. Living in Chicago (and I mean IN Chicago) and biking there on Clark and Sheridan and more, no way am I going out without one.

    But in the suburbs, it’s harder to think about it. The wee ones aren’t fast enough on bikes for me to do anything but walk (Little Miss is getting a bike for her third birthday from her godparents!), so I haven’t run into this yet. But I’ll have to dust off that helmet soon!

  • Melisa

    Sue: That drives me nuts too!

    Michelle: You’re right. (so many other things didn’t exist back then too…but I’ll feel really super old if I start naming them) I vividly remember getting in the car one day around 7 years old and my mom declaring that we would, from this point on, wear seatbelts. All of us. And from that day, she wouldn’t move the car until we were all buckled up. I should ask her what suddenly brought that on…statistics? someone she knew in an accident? Curious!

  • Anonymous

    from Dawn
    I have a friend whose young teen was riding in their safe, quiet neighborhood alone, fell and hit his head. Somehow, he found his way back home. My friend and her husband rushed him to the hospital and after evaluation, he was life flighted to Peoria to remove the bloodclot on his brain. He now sports a nice metal plate in his head. Do I believe in bicycle helmets? You betcha!

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