Cycling only with a helmet: more safety on the road

In 2006, 34, 534 children and adolescents under the age of 15 were killed in road traffic. This is evident from the current balance sheet of the Federal Statistical Office. Although the number of child accidents has declined significantly, 136 girls and boys were still killed and more than 5, 600 others were seriously injured. According to the new statistics, the risk of being involved in a collision with a car or other vehicles during cycling or falling without outside influence continues to be conspicuously high for children over the age of ten. More than a third of all child accidents happen this way. Fatal head injuries are not uncommon, but even less severe injuries can lead to permanent damage, according to doctors.

Road traffic can overwhelm children

"Children on bicycles are overwhelmed by the complexity of the traffic, they react too slowly and they do not focus enough on traffic, " said Maria Limbourg from the University of Essen. Often errors occur when starting and stopping, turning and turning, even the wrong road or the disregard of the right of way are among the most common causes of accidents.

In order to avoid such accidents, a regular and early onset traffic education is necessary, which begins in the parents' home. To support "Mama and Papa", the German Traffic Safety Council (DVR) and its partners initiated the program "Child and Traffic" more than 25 years ago. In this educational program, parents learn how to prepare their children to ride a bicycle and what are the development-related performance limits of their offspring.

More safety through good technology

But not only pedagogical measures are important to increase the child safety on the road, also the necessary equipment belongs to it. For example, correct bicycle lighting - including a functioning lighting system, spoke reflectors and reflectors on the pedals -, a bell and good brakes significantly reduce the risk of accidents. A high-quality bicycle helmet can at worst protect against the serious consequences of a fall or collision with a vehicle.

Nevertheless, wearing helmets in Germany has so far been no obligation and the lack of legal regulation is having an effect. According to the findings of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), 53 percent of all children aged up to ten wear head protection. Thereafter, the number of helmets decreases rapidly.

A lot of protection for little money

Parents who want to protect their children from dangerous injuries in traffic, not even spend a lot of money. This was demonstrated by a cycling helmet test by the ADAC in April 2007. Among other things, the engineers examined which strokes the different models can withstand, whether they can be easily removed and what coverage they cover. Although the ADAC set strict criteria for the safety and handling of the helmets, not a single one fell through during the test. One of the four "good" rated models was already available for seven euros at the discount store.

"Top with" for all?

But how can you get children excited about wearing a helmet? Above all, it is important to involve the offspring in the selection. Because only a helmet that sits well and firmly and is also still "cool", is also gladly worn.And another good advice has the ADAC ready: "The willingness of the children to put on the helmet is also greater, if Mom and Leading Dad by example and even only riding 'up'.

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