EDITORIAL: Lessons learned, then forgotten

Wearing helmets while partaking in activities such as bike riding and skateboarding can save lives.

There was a time when not wearing a helmet while cycling or skateboarding was the norm.

Not so many years ago, that ‘norm’ became the exception, as injuries and deaths of those partaking in the activities were connected to the distinct lack of head protection.

The tragic death in 2001 of well-known local skateboarder ‘Major’ Dave Bowers was attributed in large part to the lack of a helmet. Bowers died of complications arising from a snowboarding accident on Seymour Mountain, in which he fell backwards and hit his head.

Matt Elder is another name locals residents will likely recall with sadness. The Southridge School honour student died in 2002, hours after striking the back of his head on the pavement while skateboarding near his South Surrey home. The 13-year-old was also not wearing a helmet.

In an effort to both keep Elder’s memory alive and prevent similar tragedies, a campaign was launched aimed at inspiring young ‘boarders and cyclists to don helmets every time they are out enjoying their sport.

Friends of the teen said at the time that helmet-wearing did increase in the wake of Elder’s death – a glimmer of hope that the painful lesson had been learned. Looking around today, however, it appears many have forgotten that lesson.

Young and old can be seen daily enjoying their sport care- and helmet-free.

In the case of the particularly young, there’s no question responsibility rests on the parents. It’s an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act to permit a person under age 16 to operate or ride as a passenger without a helmet. And yet, it’s not uncommon to see parents cycle helmet-free with their children – reinforcing the potentially deadly standard as acceptable.

Older riders, simply put, should know better.

Of course, there are those who argue helmets aren’t needed; that they deter people from enjoyable outdoor activities. It is a weak argument. Even the mildest of head injuries can be life-changing.

It would appear a wake-up call may be needed to remind people of what they stand to lose should that fateful fall they never expected happen to them or someone they love. Who, after all, sets out planning to sustain a life-threatening injury?

Perhaps a gentle reminder is enough, with hope that it doesn’t take another tragedy – another needless death or injury – to get people to once again use their heads.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

Survey suggests 83 per cent of Surreyites ‘favour a referendum’ on policing transition

Survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the National Police Federation

Racist graffiti sparks Cloverdale man to renew calls for City to clean up street

Hate message the latest garbage dumped at the end of 176th Street

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

VIDEO: Giants winning streak now stands at 11

Team erased a 5-2 deficit by scoring every five minutes

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read

l -->