Wearing a bike helmet the only way to go

July 27, 2021

This letter is inspired by the recent Gazette commentary by Ray Bryant and his unfortunate bicycle accident that caused him great personal injury, but thankfully he was wearing a helmet which most likely saved his life.

I’ve just returned from my regular bicycle route through Cape Henlopen State Park (Gordons Pond) and the Breakwater Trail. I encountered 76 cyclists, and discovered that only 40 percent were wearing helmets. Many of the underage people weren’t wearing protection and some of them were with their parents.

I’ve also inquired with several local bicycle renters, which is a big business in our vacation community, and they all stated “We encourage renters to wear a helmet but don’t insist.” According to NHTA in 2019, 846 American bicyclists lost their lives while cycling. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been tremendous increase in the number of bicycle and e-bike sales. Accordingly, the number of serious accidents and deaths is certain to increase in the future if riders don’t protect themselves.

Currently there are only 21 states that have existing helmets laws and Delaware is one. However, none of the 21 states require adults over the age of 18 to wear a helmet. I’m 78 years old and have been bicycling my entire life. When I first started cycling, helmets weren’t available. My first head protection was almost like the old leather football helmets worn in the 1940s. Fortunately, technologies have changed and the modern bicycle helmets offer excellent head and brain protection at impact, rechargeable lights and even bluetooth connection.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a bike accident which requires transport to the Beebe Emergency Room, the first thing you’ll see are two mannequins, one with a helmet and one without a helmet. Which one do think survived? I encourage anyone who rides a bike or motor scooter to wear a helmet. It’s the only way to go! 

Gil Hofheimer
Rehoboth Beach
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