Mandatory bicycle helmets for kids

The 4-3 vote makes Flagstaff children subject to a police warning or a ticket, similar to curfew and alcohol violations.
Cole Wilson cannot watch video games or certain movies. All because he didn't wear a helmet four years ago when attempting a stunt on his bike led to a serious accident.
The 16-year-old Flagstaff High School student explained to the Flagstaff City Council Tuesday night how the frequent grand mal seizures he gets have changed his life. Cole said his sole goal in coming before the Council was to help prevent other injuries by instituting a mandatory bike helmet law for children under the age of 18.
"You probably can save a lot of kids from having to go through what I have gone through," he said.
Cole's story, along with an outpouring of support from the bicycle community and local health care workers, was enough to sway a majority of the Council. It voted 4-3 Tuesday for the ordinance, originally written by Mayor Sara Presler several months ago.
Councilmembers Al White, Karla Brewster and Rick Swanson, along with Presler, voted in favor of the ordinance, noting the costs of requiring children under age 18 to own a helmet outweighed the risk of severe and permanent injuries posed by not wearing one.
A trauma nurse with Flagstaff Medical Center told the Council that the average bill for a child coming into the emergency room who wasn't wearing a helmet was $29,000.
However, Councilmembers Joe Haughey, Scott Overton and Coral Evans were skeptical of any proposal that could conceivably issue tickets to young children for not wearing a helmet.
Haughey, a former police officer, said he worried that children as young as 7 could be ticketed by a police officer under the proposal.
"We are criminalizing the kids," Haughey said. "We don't fault the kids who don't wear a seat belt in the cars.
"Deputy Police Chief Josh Copley said the police would likely use the new law as an educational tool to issue warnings to children and that only a few tickets would only be issued for repeat offenders who willfully violate the new law.
The law would likely be enforced the same way as curfew violations and minors caught drinking and smoking. The current policy gives officers some latitude to decide whether to issue a warning or a ticket.
Copley said all officers will make "every reasonable attempt" to get in touch with a parent if they encounter a child without a helmet.
Councilmember Scott Overton said he was opposed because, while it is unlikely, the proposal could lead to having a child taken to court over multiple violations.
Don Jacobson with the Flagstaff Municipal Court said the city court has very little authority to punish those under 13 who ignore tickets.
Calling the proposal "Cole's law" Presler said the possibility of hauling a child into civil court is preferable to the current alternative.
"I'd rather see juveniles injected into the court system than injected into the health care system," she argued.
Mandatory bicycle helmets for kids

SAFE KIDS Programs

Flagstaff Unified School District helmet sales

Helmets can reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 88%

We provide low-cost helmets throughout the FUSD in early spring. Sign-up sheets are sent home with your children. A bike rodeo to teach road rules and hand signals is performed at each school site.

♥ International Walk to School Day

Children, ages 5 to 9, are at the greatest risk of being hit by a car.

This program encourages students and their parents to learn the safe way to walk to school.
Injury Prevention

Every year, unintentional injuries kill and disable more children than all other childhood diseases combined. Our goal is to reduce unintentional childhood injury.
This is done through child seat safety education and instruction, organizing SAFE KIDS events,and promoting the use of bicycle helmets.

Additional program information including program description, hours of operation, locations, eligibility requirements and population served.


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