August 16, 2014 8:40 pm

Brain injury association wants bicycle helmet laws changed

Glenda James, executive director of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association, holds up one of the watermelon-themed helmets being given out for the campaign.

Kael Donnelly / Global News

REGINA – It’s not always top of mind, but the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association wants to make it top of head.

“They’re watermelons, so you could actually wear it at the football games as well,” said Glenda James, executive director of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA), holding up a watermelon-themed bicycle helmet.

The organization is offering free helmets as part of an education campaign about why wearing one is a good idea.

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“One cyclist, each week, dies in Canada. One a week. And those are all preventable deaths,” she said.

According to SBIA, 80 per cent of cyclists killed were not wearing a helmet in 2008.

James said the government needs to step up and make wearing one the law.

“We’re saying, ‘Come on, everything Ontario west has that legislation so let’s get on board with that,’” she said.

In a written statement, the provincial government said that it “believes that individuals have the ability to make the right decision to wear bike helmets when using bicycles. To that end, SGI actively promotes the use of bike helmets for all Saskatchewan residents.”

“We would also encourage parents and caregivers to set a good example for your kids by making sure that you always wear a helmet, too, when you are out cycling, and then your kids will also hopefully follow suit,” said Kelley Brinkworth, media relations manager for SGI.

Freddy Vandelinden, owner of Dutch Cycle, said more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits, and nobody should be scared of putting one on.

“In the old days it was usually the reasons of ‘I didn’t want to put a Styrofoam cup on my hand because it fit awful and it’s uncomfortable. Those reasons aren’t on the table today,” said Vendelinden.

His hope is that putting on a helmet will become just as instinctual as strapping on a seat belt.



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