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Put a lid on it: bike helmet campaign to target all island riders
By Jennifer Johnston
Jan 16, 2013 - 8:58:43 AM


Bike riding to school has been popular on Daniel Island ever since the Daniel Island School opened in 2006. The number of bikes flanking both sides of Daniel Island School signal a strong case for helmets.

Inarguably, there are certain topics for which adults, with our incremental, um, experience, make a more credible campaign: The importance of flossing. The everyday application of math. The case against tattoos on aging skin. But all too often we rest on our “I didn’t (wear a seatbelt, own a phone, get a flu shot, insert personal void) as a kid, and I turned out fine!” mentality, closing ourselves off to the adoption of legitimate life advancements. So, admittedly, there are plenty of things about which we could learn a thing or two from the youngsters: Leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Connecting a wireless router. Wearing a bike helmet.
 Yes, you read that right. And we don’t mean owning a helmet, or even knowing how to fit it onto your head. We’re talking actually wearing it every single time you ride a bike. Compared to adult bicyclists, today’s youth are much more likely to cover their craniums when they ride. It’s not that any reasonable adult would argue against helmet use, particularly for kids. It’s just that it seems to fall under the “do as I say, not as I do” category of ‘grown-up’ behavior.
 And so it is fitting that the students of Daniel Island School will be leading the charge to get a helmet on the head of every island bike rider, young and old. Beginning this month, members of the school’s Student Council and Beta Club will commence planning of a community-wide campaign aimed at eliciting the answer to that most pointed inquiry: “Dude, Where’s Your Helmet?” Partnering with The Daniel Island News, the students will generate an arsenal of slogans, contests, incentives, and visual promotion to drive home their message, promoting infallible helmet-wearing habits and debunking the notion that the lids are somehow less than cool.
 There is nothing cool about a helmet-less head hitting the pavement, and of this Karen Tosh is all too aware. She is the Daniel Island mom who crash-landed over a speed bump while biking home from the Southern Ground Music Festival in October 2011. Though she maintains gratitude for surviving the accident, she knows that she would not be suffering from the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury had she been wearing a helmet. And she will be sharing her story with the DIS students as they kick-off their campaign, sharing with them the survivor side of the story, where a life so fortunately spared is still often one physically or mentally compromised.
“It is somewhat devastating to come to grips with the fact that my cognitive and social abilities may be negatively impacted for the rest of my life; that has been a very difficult pill to swallow,” Tosh relates. “Truth be told, I take it personally that the torture I have sustained this past year would be in vain for any individual. I am a firm believer that we are all angels learning by trial and error, with the ability to learn from other people’s errors, or ignore the lesson and learn the hard way ourselves.”
Indeed, an important objective of this campaign is to break down the barriers to helmet use, whether they are issues of convenience, comfort, availability, or even vanity. Daniel Island is a place of prolific bike-riding; it’s one of the things most celebrated about the island town. And so it might follow that Daniel Island should lead by example with our youth, by and large more in the habit of donning the dome, right out front.
Now, if only they could teach me how to dougie.

Helmet truths:
91% of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly weren’t wearing helmets. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
677 bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2011, compared with 1,003 in 1975. (U.S. Department of Transportation)
During the past few years, only about 1 in 10 fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
Bike riders with helmets have an 85% reduction in their risk of head injury and an 88% reduction in their risk of brain injury. (New England Journal of Medicine)
50% of bicyclists wear a helmet for at least some trips, with 35% using them for all or most trips. (Results from a Gallup poll sponsored by the U.S. Government released in 2008)
89% of bicycle deaths are persons 16 and older. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
In 2010, fatal bicycle crashes typically were urban (72%) and not at intersections (67%). (U.S. Department of Transportation)
As of May 4, 2012, 22 states (including the District of Columbia) have passed laws requiring minors to wear helmets while bicycling. South Carolina is not one of them. (Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute)


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