Although bicycle helmets will certainly help prevent serious head injuries, they are absolutely valueless in averting accidents from occurring in the first place. Every day, I am continually amazed at the number of bicyclists riding on sidewalks, traveling against traffic flow and engaging in other unsafe cycling practices that are attributable to more than 70% of all cycling accidents, according to several studies.
The many "concerned parents" who believe Sen. Marian Bergeson's (R-Newport Beach) bicycle helmet bill will prevent tragedies are living in a fantasy land. Until children and adults of all ages learn the proper and safe ways to ride bicycles, serious accidents will continue to occur.
May I suggest that the state of California publish a brief pamphlet outlining safe bicycling practices, which could be distributed through bicycle stores and school libraries. Such a publication will go a lot further in preventing cycling fatalities than a mandatory helmet law ever could.
Certainly, wearing a helmet is a good safety measure. However, I would rather see a group of helmetless kids riding in a safe manner than helmeted cyclists riding on the left side of a roadway. Bergeson's bill should be dismissed as being little more than a placebo for a large, unfortunate problem.
JEFF DIAMOND, Orange