New report recommends Kansas implement bicycle helmet law to help prevent deaths, injuries

Liberty Memorial Central Middle School students Eleanor Matheis, 13, foreground left, and Mary Reed Weston, 13, right, put on their helmets before bicycling home from school Tuesday, May 22 2012. Kansas has the 27th highest rate of injury-related deaths in the country, according to a new report. Kansas does not require children to wear helmets, but Lawrence has passed an ordinance requiring children, ages 16 and under, to wear a helmet, but doesn't enforce penalties. Traumatic brain injuries account for more than 50 percent of bicycle fatalities among people 20 and under.

Liberty Memorial Central Middle School students Eleanor Matheis, 13, foreground left, and Mary Reed Weston, 13, right, put on their helmets before bicycling home from school Tuesday, May 22 2012. Kansas has the 27th highest rate of injury-related deaths in the country, according to a new report. Kansas does not require children to wear helmets, but Lawrence has passed an ordinance requiring children, ages 16 and under, to wear a helmet, but doesn't enforce penalties. Traumatic brain injuries account for more than 50 percent of bicycle fatalities among people 20 and under. by Mike Yoder

Kansas has the 27th highest rate of injury-related deaths in the country, according to a new report. The rate, 60.4 per 100,000 people, also is higher than the national average.

To help prevent such fatalities, the report suggests the state implement a bicycle helmet law and expanding its motorcycle helmet law to include all riders.

“Injury is the third-leading cause of death for all age groups in the U.S. and one person dies from injury every three minutes,” said Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and a contributor to the report.

The highest rate was in New Mexico, where 97.8 per 100,000 people die from injuries. The lowest was New York with 37.1 per 100,000 people.

Nationally, each year:

• 50 million are medically treated for injuries.

• 29 million are treated in emergency rooms for injuries.

• 2.8 million are hospitalized for injuries.

• $406 billion is lost in medical costs and productivity because of injuries.

• 180,000 die from injuries.

The report found that millions of injuries could be prevented annually if more states adopted policies and programs such as child safety seat and helmet laws.

For example, an estimated:

• 69,000 lives were saved between 2006 and 2010 because of seat belts.

• 8,000 lives were saved between 2005 and 2008 because of motorcycle helmets.

• 1,800 lives saved because of child safety seats from 2005 to 2009.

The 76-page report, “The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report,” was released Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report looked at 10 key indicators that states can take to prevent injuries. Kansas met all but three:

Motorcycle helmets. It does not have a law that requires helmets for all riders, but 19 states do. Kansas does require riders under age 18 to wear them.

Bicycle helmets. Kansas does not require children to wear helmets, but 21 states do. Lawrence passed an ordinance in 2004 that requires children 16 and under to wear a helmet, but it doesn’t enforce penalties. Nationally, about 700 bicyclists are killed each year and 52,000 are injured. Bicyclists under age 16 account for 13 percent of those deaths.

Teen dating violence prevention. Kansas did not receive an “A” grade in the teen dating violence laws analysis conducted by the Break the Cycle organization in 2010, but six states did. Kansas was among 16 states to earn a “C.” The analysis looked at access to civil protections, access to sensitive services and school response.

“We need to redouble our efforts to make safety, research and policy a national priority,” Gielen said. “There’s compelling evidence that we should adopt, implement and enforce many existing policies and programs to help spare millions of Americans from needless harm.”

The report is available at the healthyamericans.org.

Tagged: bicycling, injuries

Comments

Jean Robart 2 years, 7 months ago

Great idea! Then make bicyclists take a class on observing traffic laws.

parrothead8 2 years, 7 months ago

As long as you make everybody who uses the roads take the same class, I'm all for it.

Marilyn Hull 2 years, 7 months ago

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Marilyn Hull 2 years, 7 months ago

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JimmyJoeBob 2 years, 7 months ago

I think everyone driving a motor vehicle does take a class and test prior to being allowed to drive on the roadways. Bicyclist do not but they should be licensed.

BigDog 2 years, 7 months ago

6,000 people died last year from falls in the home .... maybe we should wear helmets and bubble wrap everywhere

There are risks in life ... can the government make laws that mandate enough stuff to prevent all injuries or death

Not saying that helmets aren't a good idea but some want government to make laws to protect us from everything

optimist 2 years, 7 months ago

+1

Thanks for the common sense. The data presented in this story fails to specify how deaths actually occur as a result of head injuries to bicycle and motorcycle riders. Given that it claims 8,000 lives were saved countrywide in a four year period and the percentage of the countries population living in Kansas we are talking best case scenario approximately 20 lives in Kansas "might" be saved each year. Agree with helmets or not the Government needs to stop injecting itself into our lives under the guise of public safety or public funding.

Dan Eyler 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh boy...another law to protect us from harm. So now the average family with a couple of kids need helmets to peddle down the street. So what if my 11 year old is riding a bike in the neighborhood with no helmet and a cop sees this crime I guess mom and dad get a 500 dollar fine, and mandatory obedient classes with a couple thousand dollar tuition fee. Personally I like the liberty of risk. I want to take my chances like everything else in life. America is a nation built on risk. But seems more and more realize risk has its ups and downs so they go to extreme measures to avoid it.....at others expense.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 6 months ago

"500 dollar fine, and mandatory obedient classes with a couple thousand dollar tuition fee"

That exists only in your imagination. There is no chance that the actual wording or enforcement of the law will be anything like that.

hipper_than_hip 2 years, 7 months ago

$406B in medical costs and productivity; how much of the medical cost is passed on to the taxpayer and/or insurance rate payer because the injured has no insurance or is under-insured?

Marilyn Hull 2 years, 7 months ago

Even when the injured has insurance, his/her high claims for a serious injury may increase future premiums in the employer's insurance pool.

And if the person ends up disabled and in need of benefits, that money either comes from an insurance policy other employees pay into, or from Medicaid, which taxpayers support.

So anyway you look at it, serious injuries affect all of our pocketbooks. If there are proven ways to avoid them, why not use them?

Karrey Britt 2 years, 7 months ago

Completely agree with Marilyn. Well said!

blogme 2 years, 7 months ago

Your argument could be used to have the benevolent government ( I mean, they are just looking out for our best interests right? ) control every aspect of your life, because everything boils down to dollars and lack of sense.

To just make this simple and not jam your agenda down our throats, how about if the people that want to be revived wear a helmet or seat belt? That way it's voluntary, and the people have a choice? Kind of like a DNR order. No seat belt / helmet, no reviving. No health care money spent. Problem solved.

optimist 2 years, 7 months ago

Then don't force the tax payer to pay it. Take every asset they have until it is paid. Don't force people to obtain insurance or be safe but don't bail them out when their decision comes back to bite them. It's called individual responsiblity. It's the foundation of liberty and freedom.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 7 months ago

"Don't force people to obtain insurance or be safe but don't bail them out when their decision comes back to bite them."

Uh.... when you are talking someone without health insurance it is usually because they cannot afford it or or because they have been denied care due to a preexisting condition.

How do you propose to have them pay for their care if they have no funds to pay for even the insurance? Or should we simply let them die at the entrance to the emergency room? [No pay, no care.]

usafJayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

There are many things you can point to as proof that the human is not smart. But my personal favorite would have to be that we needed to invent the helmet. What was happening, apparently, was that we were involved in a lot of activities that were cracking our heads. We chose not to avoid doing those activities but, instead, to come up with some sort of device to help us enjoy our head-cracking lifestyles. And even that didn't work because not enough people were wearing them so we had to come up with the helmet law. Which is even stupider, the idea behind the helmet law being to preserve a brain whose judgment is so poor, it does not even try to avoid the cracking of the head it's in.

chetrico79 2 years, 7 months ago

Why did we have to invent seat belts and airbags? I'll bet you won't drive a car or fly in an airplane. You can crack a lot of personal parts in those things. It might be best if you just crawl back under your bed where you belong.

Erika Dvorske 2 years, 7 months ago

According to the Community Health Assessment, as a county we aren't meeting the Healthy People 2020 benchmarks for seat belt usage. I think it is a worthy discussion to better understand how the existence of preventative laws like seat belts impacts usage. Or, more to the point, what should be done to encourage more people to use these important preventive tools?

Karrey Britt 2 years, 7 months ago

Just wanted to note that there are 8 states that require children to wear helmets when riding scooters and skateboards. As for bicycle helmets, according to the report: Wearing an approved helmet in the proper way provides up to 88 percent reduction in risk of head and brain injury for bicyclists of all ages. Helmets are the most effective way to reduce death and head injuries from bike crashes. Wondering if anyone in Lawrence has lost a loved one because they weren't wearing a bicycle or motorcycle helmet.

mom_of_three 2 years, 7 months ago

I always requested my kids wear helmets, but they didnt want to when I wasn't around. The neighbor who is a firefighter saw them one day without it and brought a helmet home, and stuck it on their head. I never had to worry it after that.

ssteve1 2 years, 7 months ago

Have to wear a seat belt. Dont' have to wear a motorcycle helmet. Can't put cyclamates in kool aid. Buy all the crisco you can. And yes, smoke all you want. It makes no sense.

ssteve1 2 years, 7 months ago

Have to wear a seat belt. Dont' have to wear a motorcycle helmet. Can't put cyclamates in kool aid. Buy all the crisco you can. And yes, smoke all you want. It makes no sense.

Bill_Slu 2 years, 7 months ago

Nanny State Nanny State Yay!

Another reason for the so called authorities to hassle you!

I can see the headline on the JW now... Cop tazers 6 year old for not wearing a bicycle helmet hahaha ...Then breaks the childs (perpetrators) arm while throwing the criminal to the ground and cuffing the law breaker. The child was later charged with resisting arrest then sent to the SRS and put in a temporary foster home.

Seriously though, how far do you want the government into your lives?

Think about it.

Wake Up!

kansanjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

They can't even get public education right- how about concentrating on teaching Johnnie to read?- too much government regardless of the fact that helmets can be a good thing. What's next a cheeseburger ban?

Bursting 2 years, 7 months ago

I never had a helmet as a child, and never even came close to hurting my head.

Tomato 2 years, 7 months ago

No one wanted to wear a helmet when I was growing up, either. One day my friends and I were biking to school and we saw a bicycle collision where one kid ended up hitting his head on the pavement.

There was a creepy blood stain on the pavement for days afterward to remind us to wear our helmets.

The kid lived, but spent weeks in the hospital. There were rumors that he was brain damaged - but I suspect that was the usual schoolyard stuff.

The truth is, where I grew up it was required by law, our parents and the school. We still didn't want to wear them. We put them on at school because teachers supervised the bike racks to make sure we wore them, but they were off the moment we were out of sight.

The only thing that worked was that kid and his cracked head (the blood stain and story was enough to convince a lot of kids who didn't witness it).

Bill_Slu 2 years, 7 months ago

kansanjayhawk, not a ban on cheeseburgers but a tongue helmet! and for you smokers... a lung helmet! How about seat belts for bikes? Click it or ticket sheeple!

If Obama had a son he would wear a helmet that looked like Trayvon!

Im going for a bike ride, and I will enjoy my freedom (while i still have it) by not wearing a helmet. Perhaps by not wearing a helmet for over 40 years and still being a non veg, that it may have something to do with intelligence and agility?

darwin anyone?

ssteve1 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't get it. Helmets prevent death. We don't have to wear one on a motorcycle. But, maybe a bicycle. Seat belts prevent death. We know that. We have to wear seat belts. Cigarettes kill people. We know that. It's legal to smoke. Somebody explain all this to me.

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