We support the passage of an ordinance and implementation of an educational campaign to require bicycle helmets throughout the village. We applaud Oak Park for its visionary thinking to develop a village-wide pedestrian and bike plan, working to implement it and increase our ability to be active and healthy citizens safely. This is an example of the kind of village leadership and values that brought us to Oak Park nearly a decade ago.
Now that we have a 2-year-old who will start biking in the near future, we were even more excited to see that the village board has been considering requiring bike helmets for youth. While Oak Park has done much to improve the ability to bike throughout the village, we are still a traffic-heavy community. Bike helmets are an evidence-based, relatively inexpensive and easy way to keep our kids safe from injuries — especially when we consider the negative impact of not wearing a helmet.
As public health and medical professionals, we also know through research and experience that passing policies like this one, alongside a communitywide education campaign, is most effective. A low cost, simple-message campaign could help increase awareness of the need and requirement for bike helmets, decreasing costs around enforcement.
Oak Park is a national leader in many ways; we hope it continues this trend and supports both an ordinance and educational campaign to help our kids ride safely.
Christina Welter, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
David Muzic, M.D.