"I'd rather leave my bike in the garage than wear a stupid helmet," said 10-year-old me as my mom caught me pedaling out of the driveway with friends. Back then, riding bikes was my only mode of non-parental transportation, but I had just enough desire to be cool that I was often willing to trade in my two-wheeler for my walking shoes in order to prove it.
Times have changed. As a kid, I didn't have a hero cyclist to look up to. My peers were anti-bicycle helmet and so was I. These days, convincing children to wear helmets is easier. When the USA Pro Cycling Challenge roared through Colorado communities in August, not one of those cyclists rode sans helmet, and those are the kind of top-tier athletes kids model themselves after.
But for many Colorado youth cyclists, the problem isn't whether they want to wear a helmet, but whether they have access to one. In an attempt to ensure kids have access to the brain buckets, Schwinn Bikes and the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation have partnered in the Helmets on Heads campaign. The campaign is stopping in at community schools like Cole Arts and Science Academy in Denver to encourage kids and adults alike to sign a pledge to wear helmets every time they ride.
Get Involved: Host an event for the neighborhood or encourage officials at your child's school, the local bike shop, or youth groups to host a Helmets on Heads (HoH) event. Download education material from the HoH website and request up to 20 free helmets for kids who participate. At the end of the event, have everyone (grownups included) sign the pledge to rally for bike safety with other cyclists around the country.