EDITORIAL: Think of your brain cells

How many of us forget that British Columbia has helmet laws?

How many of us forget that British Columbia has helmet laws? It’s a darn good wager that plenty of adults don’t recall this — especially if they grew up in the era when bike helmets were reserved for pro racers only and were hard to come by anywhere else.

The helmet law came into effect in B.C. in 1996 and some statistics show that helmet use has grown steadily ever since. What proponents of the law and local law enforcement agencies relied on at the time was for children to adopt the helmets and help pressure their parents into wearing them too. There wasn’t a massive effort to enforce the law (and by massive, we mean crackdowns, heavy fines and jail time). Instead, wearing a helmet was rewarded by police handing out coupons for ice cream or other rewards and spreading the word.

It seems to have worked. Most cyclists on the road today have a helmet on. It’s simply a lot safer and they help prevent serious brain injuries suffered in a bike crash.

That’s why it seems strange to see people riding a bike without a helmet on. Invariably, it’s an adult who isn’t wearing the helmet. And sometimes, it’s the adult members of a family out for a ride who aren’t wearing them.

It boggles the mind that parents or guardians who would take pains to protect their children’s noggins would not want to protect their own. One wrong move could spell a significant change in one’s life and health.

It’s no surprise then that local police are reminding people to don their helmets. They would certainly not want to hand out a lot of tickets over an easily preventable action (or lack of action). Nor would our emergency services personnel want to arrive at a crash scene and find out someone has life-threatening injuries that might have been prevented by a simple helmet. If you’re going to ride this spring and summer, make the effort and wear a helmet.

Your brain will thank you.