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School Board's Bike Helmet Policy Deserves Praise

August 02, 1992

Normally I agree with the stand Dana Parsons takes on current issues; however, I must strongly disagree with the position he recently took with regard to bicycle helmets and the Irvine Unified School District.

Philosophically, I agree with Mr. Parsons that if parents know what is best for their child, then a governmental body, here the school district, should stay out of it. On the subject of bicycle helmets, the statistics and research are rather recent and parents don't know that a head injury can be so serious and the wearing of a helmet can greatly reduce the injury.

The school district has done its homework and knows that studies have shown that every year 1,000 people are killed in bicycle accidents in North America and up to 50% of those deaths could have been prevented if the cyclist had been wearing a helmet. In 1988, 350,000 children under the age of 15 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. The most serious patients admitted to the hospital suffered head trauma. Studies show that bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by as much as 85%.

In my opinion the district is responsible for helping educate the parents and students by having a bicycle helmet policy. In fact, the district would be remiss if it did otherwise. The school district does have the job of education and should care for the health and safety of the students as well.

MARILYN VASSOS, Irvine

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