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Did you wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter when you were young?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on February 4, 2006

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Photo of Hilary Berry

“No. I lived out in the country. My parents didn’t tell me to because there were never any cars around.”

Photo of Glen Lecornu

“No. My parents didn’t tell me to until I got older and started to ride motorcycles.”

Photo of Carlos Harden

“No. I didn’t really have a bicycle to ride growing up. I rode three- and four-wheelers later on. I never wore a helmet, but I was very careful”

Photo of Jeff Dillon

“I never wear a helmet, and I ride my bike every day. I’ve had a couple of concussions, but most of the time I keep the wheels on the ground.”


sweetpeagj 12 years, 1 month ago

No I never wore a helmet as a child. I know that when my kids were old enough to ride with us we all wore helmets. I couldn't enforce the helmet with my children if I was unable or unwilling to wear one also.

Larry 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't think helmets were even available to be purchased. No one even mentioned the thought.

Jclarkson 12 years, 1 month ago

Never wore a helmet in my life riding a bike. If I rode a motorcycle, I'd wear a helmet. I never did anything dangerous on a bike, so its not like I needed it. Riding a bike with a little precaution will go a long way.

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

i think the only helmet available when i was a child would've been a motorcycle helmet. so my answer is: No, i did not wear a goofy motorcycle helmet when i rode my bike when i was a kid.

average 12 years, 1 month ago

Really can't remember how much I wore one as a kid. I think I had one, but they were so much worse (weight and ventilation) back then.

Thankfully, there were a few years between 'kid' and late-high-school when I got back into bikes to unlearn habits. When I had my big bangup at 18, I ended up with a double compound forearm fracture and a caved-in helmet, but I'm alive to strap on a helmet and ride almost every day since.

enochville 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't remember anyone wearing helmets while riding a bike when I was a kid. When did helmets become available. But, I think it makes a lot of sense for everyone to wear helmets now when riding a bike.

bankboy119 12 years, 1 month ago

I think I wore a helmet twice. Then I decided I didn't want to look goofy.

Sigmund 12 years, 1 month ago

Never wore a helment when I was young. I won't ride in Lawrence without one now.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

Hellloooooooo! They didn't make them. Did a 9 year old ask this ?? Just interested because it sounds just like something my 9 yr old would ask. I do wear one know, because, you know, they actually make them now and all. And I do make the kiddies wear them so I have to practice what I preach.

BTW, I love the fact that some people ride bikes instead of firing up the 'ol gas hog, BUT...please follow the rules of the road. I just about wiped a cyclist off the face of the earth the other day when he was coming the wrong way down a sidewalk and I was turning. I really don't need the extra trauma in my life...neither did he! Luckily, I missed him. Oh, and he wasn't wearing a helmet. IDIOT!

mammaweeks3 12 years, 1 month ago

I never wore a helmet growing up, if they had them we could not afford them. Since I have had kids I always make them wear a helmet and I do to. I try to make my husband and he does when he is with the kids, but not on his own. I make my kids and anyother kids I am in charge of wear one if they are riding anything or if they are climbing trees. I have seen many children without helmets and it makes me sick to my stomache. I think that the fault lies with the parents 100%. It is our job to make sure our kids are safe at all times and if we do not have the strength to take control over a helmet just think what else we do not have the strength do deal with. I think what happened to Bryce may be a eye opener for many parents and children and may make a difference in this situation. I also want to make it clear that the main reason I make my children wear a helmet is because I am not able to control what drivers do or do not do to protect my child. It is my job as a parent to make sure they are safe from anyone and anything at all times. To all of the readers that think that they are in charge of their safety and no one else has any influence in the matter I beg you to really think about that.

justathought 12 years, 1 month ago

They weren't available when I was riding (I don't think at least no one wore one). I do wear one now so do hubby and the kids. My favorite is when I see someone wearing it backwards, or not covering their forehead. Silly people.

MARKCZ 12 years, 1 month ago

To helmet or not to helmet ! That is the question.

Why would anyone NOT wear one. These things are relatively inexpensive, are well ventilated and protect whatever you have for brains.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

offtotheright, we had to be home when the streetlights came on...lucky you!

Oh, I also did NOT have: a computer a touch-tone phone a microwave cable TV (we got 4 channels) an electric typewriter cds dvds a vcr i pods (we would have thought these some sort of feminine product, anyway) remote controls

And I'm not even 40!

Jeff Goodrick 12 years, 1 month ago

sunflower sue I know how you feel I almost creamed a half dozen riders on the farmers turpike last fall with 24k of truck and trailer and they flipped me off. Oh and we can't get a pizza out here ether, they won't even meet me at the city limits.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

I chose to wear a helmet because I ride often. Also if I expect my children to do so then we the parents must set the pace. Sooner or later they will decide for themselves. We tried to use the magic age of 18.

Take your time to find one that's comfortable. My favorite color was hot pink as it could be seen for miles.

Teach your children that the rule of thumb should be that drivers may not stop at intersections even if signed or at a traffic light. If coming up on the right assume the driver does not see a cyclist coming. When riding at night we have flashing amber,red or white lights on front and back in addition to head lights however there again never assume drivers see you coming.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 1 month ago

Like everyone else, I don't think they had helmets when we were kids. We did wear those goofy Royals batting helmets you used to get for free at the games. But then again we always rode in the back of dads pickup and also on top of the hay bales in the hay wagon. We really knew how to have fun back then. It wasn't that long ago, I am only 32.

Ember 12 years, 1 month ago

Everytime I hear something about helmets, I keep finding myself reminded of George Carlin's rant about child safety during one of his more recent New York performances.

good_kitty 12 years, 1 month ago

It's definitely suicide to ride in town w/out a helmet. My children are NEVER allowed to ride a bike w/out helmets and closed-toe shoes.

Was life really more safe when we were kids? I never owned a helmet, I rode around barefoot and stayed out until the streetlights glowed. Seem's that I could have easily had my brains splattered on the sidewalk. I had to watch horror movies as a teenager just to get a thrill in my sleepy suburban town.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 1 month ago

I didn't until I had a friend get his head squished by a flat-bed truck (not that the foam would really have helped).

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

boogeyman -- very funny! I'm just curious - did it make others "uncomfortable?"

Today's question is obviously an age issue. If you were old enough to know anything outside family comfort when, say, John Lennon was still alive, then you likely didn't wear a helmet. If your idea of great music is Usher or Jessica Simpson, then you probably did. As someone who has passed the 40 mark a few years back, I certainly didn't wear a helmet. I also remember hitchhiking, going to general-admission stadium concerts, and when presidents got in trouble for spying. Those were the days.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

boogeyman, I wish I had made my youngest wear teeth-guards while breastfeeding. She may not have been weaned 3 months earlier than planned. Good advice not to bite the hand (or breast) that feeds you!

thunder_x 12 years, 1 month ago

I usually wear a helmet in the shower, that shower floor can be slippery.

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

boogeyman, high schoolers can be mean to each other.

inmate, just eat the picture of the fruitcake and imagine the real thing not actually tasting as good. With fruitcake, trust me, you won't get back in line to ask, "May I have some more?" But then again, you could probably use it in lieu of a bike helmet.

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

Informed: "You can have a fall at 0mph, hit your head just right, and you're toast."

Okay, and I can fall out of this chair I'm sitting in at 0mph, hit my head just right and be toast. So, should I be wearing a helmet right now? I'm with George Carlin's rant that some people go overboard with the whole safety issue. (Like the person yesterday who said mother's milk can spread HIV, so we should all be cautious around nursing mothers. Sheesh.)

boogey -- I can't believe they ryanized your post about when you wore a helmet while "dining" with your mother. Not nice at all.

bthom37 12 years, 1 month ago

No, I didn't wear one. Apparently my parents did not believe the entire world should be made of Nerf, which is seeming a less popular view these days.

And I rode my bike every day to deliver the paper, which is another no-no these days.

And I'm only 26.

Ceallach 12 years, 1 month ago

No I did not wear one as a child. Should I ride now I would.

I don't recall anyone wearing helmets for bikes and rarely for motorcycles. I have no doubt that any kid wearing a helmet would have suffered child abuse .. from the other children :) It would have been really ugly!! Although I am not looking ahead at 40 like sunflower_sue, or glancing back like beatrice, on a clear day I can somewhat remember it :)

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 1 month ago

So the thought police only struck once today on this board, huh?

Ceallach 12 years, 1 month ago

H_K_P: It's possible that may have been the only worthwhile thought that was submitted -- now we'll never know :)

moron 12 years, 1 month ago

Would a helmet protect me from spineless, malicious, anonymous post card mailing attacks?



Bean 12 years, 1 month ago

The notion of fining a parent for a child not wearing a helmet is ridiculous. Although I think helmets are a good idea, it's delusional to think that a child is perfectly safe because they're wearing one. How about fining people for not using good hand washing habits, or not wearing a coat when it's 30 degrees outside? Clearly, you can't have too many rules govening society. How about if parents teach their kids to stay out of the street? Or safe rules of the road if they must use the streets if their bikes are for a means of transportation?

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

Didn't have them back in "the old days". Back in my late teens, late at night (or early morning, whichever you prefer) I would go flying down 9th street from Iowa towards Mississippi on my ten speed and at some point let go of the handlebars, lean back a little and enjoy the ride! Who needed a helmet? Ah yes, the good ole days...

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

when I rode my horse, seventh grade, no helmet.
fell outa the tree on my head, on concrete, approx age 7, no helmet.
bicycle riding no helmet.
answer: no.

if rode bicycles today, yes.

I personally think kids would be much safer riding horses instead of bikes.

note the letter to the editor "stupid risk" Ms. Tusten, saw two teens on skate boards hanging on to the back of a t-bus for the thrill. sheesh.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

let's see, seventh grade, I was perhaps 11 or 12. and a helmet wouldn't have helped with the horse...I saddle broke her too, and where I landed those couple of bucks off, well, let's just say I'd have needed padded jeans?

that's plain sad that insurance prevents kids from riding under age 9. kids learn so much around horses, they do need to be properly supervised.

and, yes, don't use the vehicles that way to get the thrill...might be your last one!

I remember several years ago icey conditions, some small town in MO, parent driving car kid riding in sled tied to bumper...yeah, you saw that coming didn't had to stop, slid, kids on sled swung out into oncoming traffic...scratch two kids.
parents should've been jailed for that and dunno if they were. duh.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 1 month ago

They didn't have helmets for bike riders when I was a kid. No elbow or knee pads, either. I didn't get to ride a bike in the street until I was 11, and then only because I had a brother a year older, and could only ride in the street when I was with him. He loved that, of course...ha. We had to be home by dark, too.

Matter of fact, we had a mailbox two blocks from our house, and if we walked there to mail a letter, if we weren't back when my mother thought we should be, she'd come looking for us. But then, she was almost grabbed by a man one night when she was 8, so maybe she was a little more protective than some...see, that kind of thing happened way back when, too...she got away, though.

When I was a kid, there were no seat belts in cars except for lap belts, they were optional, so all cars didn't even have them, but people rarely used them even if their cars had them. Of course, those old, old cars were very large and made of steel, so they withstood a lot of stuff that cars now won't.

Didn't even have hand railings on the steps at my junior high...I don't recall anyone ever falling downstairs, though, or cracking their heads on those tiled concrete floors.

Had plexiglass back then, but it was really expensive, so there were few windows in homes that weren't real just took your chances, but there again, most people didn't fly through their windows at home.

We had traffic lights! We weren't completely in the dinosaur days...but no right turn on red back then...everyone just had to sit at the light until it turned green again.

coolmom 12 years, 1 month ago

similar story as you all. no helmet growing up and there was a pack of us doing whatever darn fool thing we could think of to get ourselves killed. any of you remember thinking i can so leap over that picnic table, creek or friend lol? i remember having a bad concusion once and being dragged home and my folks yelled at eachother about the signs of cuncusion while i laid on the bathroom floor throwing up. ended up not going to the er because i knew my name lol. my kids all wear helmets now any time they ride bikes skateboards or any other wheeled thing or they dont ride.

coolmom 12 years, 1 month ago

i am only 35 so not old either unless you ask my children or heck any kid lol. remember the good ol days when everyone had a bb gun to lug around as well? still have the scars from snowball fights and running into a tree while sledding at camponile as well. almost always unsupervised but alert for the whistle that would demand our return lol.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

throwing those snowballs is illegal in topeka, whatya know, watch out COOLMOM!

yeah, those toy guns were fun. a little pain was probably good for us anyway...prepared us to post on OTS!

now, we're so worried that the little crunchers will bleed or injur themselves or hurt their little egos/self esteems...nauseating.

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