I work evenings at a church in River Forest and drive through that village and Oak Park on my way home. Previously, I spent many years living both in Oak Park and in River Forest, so I have ample experience from which to draw. Last night I encountered yet another young person riding his or her bike at night with no reflective clothing, no helmet, no lights or reflectors on his bike, nothing to ensure his or her own safety. This incident is just the most recent of many similar incidents I have experienced over the years.

I realize that parenting is an incredibly difficult job; however, I implore parents everywhere to make time to examine their children’s bikes and discuss bike safety with them, particularly if they are going to be riding at night. A reflective vest costs about $15 at Menards. One can buy reflective helmets, and I’m reasonably certain that wearing a helmet while riding a bike is governed by ordinances in most communities. 

As for the cost of putting lights on a bike, ask yourself what your child’s life is worth. These reasonable safety measures are essential. As a bike rider myself, I utilized all of the aforementioned items to ensure that motorists could see me easily.

I hope my advice is heeded. The life you save may be your own child’s.

Paul Eichwedel


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