It was the summer of 1971 (12 days in the month of Av). My 27-year-old brother, Heshy, a physician at New York Hospital, was riding his bike to daven Shacharit at a shul on the east side of Manhattan. Sadly, he never made it to shul. He was hit by a city bus and died of his injuries.
It was the summer of 2015. My 49-year-old son, Ari, was riding his bike on the roads of Monsey. He was hit by a car and thrown from his bike. He sustained many bruises and a collapsed lung but Baruch Hashem he lived to tell the tale.
The difference between these two? Heshy was not wearing a helmet. Ari was. Protective helmets for recreational cyclists were not available until 1975.
What lesson can be learned from this tale? All bike riders, young and old, should wear properly fitted helmets.
Cost is not a problem. Many inexpensive helmets are just as protective as the expensive ones. They all must meet the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For more information, please visit their website at helmets.org.
Ninety percent of bicycling deaths and 87 percent of serious injuries happen to cyclists who were not wearing helmets.
Head injuries are the cause of three-quarters of the approximately 700 bicycle deaths annually in the United States. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, properly fitted helmets can prevent or reduce the severity of these injuries in two-thirds of these cases, even in crashes with motor vehicles.
The majority of bike accidents happen close to home. Even low-speed falls, not necessarily in traffic, can cause serious injury.
Riders of bicycles, scooters, razors, segways and hoverboards, before you go out for a ride, be safe. Buckle up your helmet!