I have been driving and walking around Oak Park and River Forest this summer and have been dismayed by the number of bicyclists not wearing helmets. River Forest does — or did — have an ordinance that bikers under the age of 16 should wear helmets. However, I don’t think this ordinance is enforced. I strongly believe that anyone on a bike should wear a helmet.
This is what happened to my daughter, Maggie Davis, who, along with my husband Greg Daly, was on a backroads bike trip to Croatia. On the fourth day of the trip, Maggie was hit by a car. She was knocked out, her tibia was shattered, and she broke a bone in her neck. Her helmet was badly dented but it protected her from a severe brain injury.
She was helicoptered to Split and was taken to the hospital there. Maggie had a small brain bleed but after three scans it was shown there was no damage to the brain. She was in the intensive care unit for six days after the accident. My husband is a doctor and it was very lucky he was there to be with her.
Greg and my son-in-law were able to arrange an air ambulance from Split to Colorado Springs, their home. Maggie had surgery on her leg and is expected to fully recover.
I realize that our villages aren’t mountainous like Croatia. However, I’m perplexed as to why parents are allowing their children to ride, or why many adults are biking, without helmets. If someone is in an accident and isn’t wearing a helmet, there could be tragic consequences. Their families would be heartbroken and would never forgive themselves for not enforcing this very simple practice.