North Hempstead would like to remind residents, especially those under 14 years of age, to always wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. By law, all bicyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when bicycling or riding as passengers on bicycles in New York State. The maximum penalty for an offense is a $50 fine.
“If you have a child learning to ride a bike, the best thing you can do to encourage helmet usage is to wear one yourself,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “Studies show that kids are more likely to wear helmets when riding a bike with older people who are also wearing helmets.”
There is no greater way to reduce fatalities related to bicycle accidents than by wearing a helmet. According to a study on helmet use published in Injury Prevention, wearing a helmet protects riders, reducing the risk of serious brain injuries by up to 88 percent.
“We have a very active population here in the town and many of our residents enjoy bike riding,” said Councilwoman Anna Kaplan. “However, recently I couldn’t help but notice the startling number of cyclists, especially children, who were not wearing helmets. After mentioning my observations to the supervisor and the town board, we decided to do something about it and launch a new public safety campaign.”
Bicycle injuries are more common than you may think. Each year, about 54 New York State residents are killed in bicycle crashes and about 2,000 New York State residents are hospitalized due to bicycle-related injuries.
Next to motor vehicle injuries, bicycles injure more children than any other consumer product, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
“The statistics on bicycle helmets could not be clearer,” said Councilwoman Kaplan. “They save lives and prevent head injuries. It’s important to always practice safe riding.”