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Written by Patty Puline, Safe Kids Coordinator

The Safe Kids Erie Coalition from the Erie County Department of Health will be coordinating bike safety events all summer, beginning on May 7th at Elk Valley Elementary School. The big yellow mobile safety van will be pulling up armed and geared for bike safety, providing educational programs, bike helmets, and sport helmets.

Kids will have access to learning stations on child safety issues such as bikes, helmets, fire, water, poison, railroad, personal body safety, 911, fingerprinting for Child ID, car seats, and playgrounds.
Area experts will be there to teach bike safety courses, talk with parents, and to help kids learn hand signals and the rules of the road.
Surveys will be available for youth to share their opinion on helmets, safe riding skills and bicycle safety. Educators hope to gain insight on youth views on prevention and its importance such as brain injuries, share the road, hand signals and helmet fit.

Do You Know What Happens In A Crash?

You just lost it on your bicycle. It’s not important how it happened, there are many ways to fall. Just think of your body, headed – fast – toward some pavement. You are just a big chunk of energy hurtling through space. You don’t have time to react, because it’s too quick. Whoops – BAM! Just like that. No time to throw an arm out or tuck and roll. Just BAM! The asphalt you hit is unbelievably hard. So your head hits that hard pavement. Now what? The helmet you are wearing cushions your blow. The foam it is made of crushes, and does not bounce back. It just gets thinner and your head slows down gradually. The plastic on the outside keeps the foam from breaking up and makes sure you will slide on the pavement as you hit, not “stick” and jerk your neck. The rounder and smoother your helmet is, the better it will slide.

All of that just happened in less than a second. The helmet actually brought your head to a stop in about 6 milliseconds (thousandths a second). But if you had not had a helmet on, you would have stopped in less than 1 millisecond. Pavement is incredibly hard. Your brain inside your head is sloshing around, helmet or no helmet. With a helmet between head and pavement the force your brain is subjected to is not likely to reach the injury threshold. Without a helmet, it takes less than a three foot drop to injure your brain permanently. With a helmet, the energy spike is stretched out over that 6 milliseconds.

Your helmet is shot. Trash it. Be glad. Nobody ever complains about the cost of the second helmet.