Bike helmet law sparks debate

Health board recommendation gets passing vote

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

It isn't the law of the land yet, but soon enough those under 17 could be subject to a bicycle helmet law in Oak Park.

The initiative has been a priority for the Oak Park Board of Health for years, but lack of grant funding for educational programs left the measure off the books in both 2009 and 2010. In late June the health board officially backed the concept of implementing a bike helmet ordinance, but recommended that in lieu of a financial fine the mandate comes with an educational lesson.

On Monday, Oak Park village board members asked questions related to the costs of the program; how much police time it would take; and how it is possible to enforce an ordinance that has no specific ticket or fine associated with it.

The question of how Oak Park would enforce such a measure spurred a debate that left Trustee Peter Barber and Village President Anan Abu-Taleb voting against the first reading of the recommendation that requested staff draft an ordinance that would implement this mandate. The health board's recommendation passed 5-2.

Staff recommendation is to address safety concerns though education and parental guidance instead of law enforcement, so staff suggested the board direct the village manager to review options with the police department to see how the health board's safety recommendations could be upheld.

One resident, Michael Stewart, spoke during public comment and said he is a bike advocate but did not support this ordinance. He didn't doubt that wearing a helmet is safer; instead he suggested the mandate could spur unintended consequences.

"They may decide it would be easier not to bike. I'm worried [kids] won't ride if they [feel forced to] have to wear a helmet," he said.

Stewart suggested the recommendation and report seemed "rushed and flawed" and said it did not include enough detail about the education programs and how much police time and resource the mandate would require.

"I am, in fact, in favor of education instead of making it criminal," said Stewart, who serves on Oak Park's transportation commission. "We (the commission) are in favor of more bike helmet use, but we are not in favor of an ordinance change that would make this mandatory."

Trustees Colette Lueck and Adam Salzman, who both favored the ordinance, said they think the measure could be a good tool for parents who need a reason to convince kids to wear a helmet.

"It gives you extra support as a parent," Lueck said. "I also think it gives the chance for police to have a relationship with kids."

Police Chief Rick Tanksley spoke Monday to explain the police would be enforcing the measure only through child and parent education. A bike enthusiast himself, Tanksley said the board still needs to determine how the police department should track enforcement since they don't plan on issuing tickets.

"Anytime [a police officer engages] a juvenile. …you better start talking to the parent real quick," he said. "I would not be in favor of issuing a citation. I lean more toward further education to further compliance."

Barber, who tried to get the issue tabled to get more answers but couldn't get a second trustee vote, said he wanted more data on how this mandate would impact allocation of police resources.

Abu-Taleb suggested the report presented didn't provide all the necessary details, such as how do the police determine who to stop and how to enforce the measure if a non-resident kid is biking through town. He also questioned the point of implementing a law that seems unenforceable.

"I just don't want to adopt something that we can't do well," Abu-Taleb said.

The measure passed, but the details of the ordinance are not finalized as that will be up to staff to write and bring back to the village board to review and approve.

Bike safety statistics

Health board member Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah prepared a report for bicycle helmet safety that was approved the Oak Park Board of Health in June. His presentation was reviewed by the village board Monday. Some of the statistics in his report include:

"The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that injuries while riding a bicycle lead to 500,000 ER visits, 52,000 serious injuries and over 700 deaths annually, nationwide."

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head injuries cause 70 percent of fatal bike accidents, and 90 percent of those deaths are among cyclists not wearing a helmet."

"The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration calls helmets 'the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes'."

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Reader Comments

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Violet Aura  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 8:39 PM

First of all, Ed, you said you "picked up speed." How in bloody hell is it EVER appropriate to pick up speed on a busy street? I ride in Chicago myself. Don't use the Orwellian "Affordable" Health Care Act as an excuse for tyranny! Adults should have the option to decide how to live! Do you eat dead flesh, my pet? If so, maybe other people shouldn't pay for your potential clogged arteries! Maybe you should eat tofu like the rest of us vedges!


Posted: October 15th, 2013 4:17 PM

MichaelO, given the number of teens that I see riding around with headphones on or a cell phone up to their ear that 3 blocks can be deadly.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 3:22 PM

Timmy is 15. He wants to go over to Brian's house, three blocks away. He gets on his bike and a block from his home is stopped by an OP police officer who issues him a citation for riding without a helmet. Timmy is 15.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 3:20 PM

finally a use for that evil poppable bubble wrap...

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 2:12 PM

Almost 4500 pedestrians are killed every year walking. I think people should be forced to stay inside or only come outside with full body armor. After all, if we can save just one child...

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 12:34 PM

Ed McDevitt, I'm glad you're ok. Hope there weren't injuries any where else on your body. Thanks for taking care of yourself.

life is full of choices from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 12:11 PM

I agree, but I don't want to have to pay for YOUR personal choice to ride a bike. Walking would be a much safer activity. I don't want to have to pay for your medical bills if you get hit by a car, helmet or not. If you need a bike for exercise purposes, you can get a stationary bike and ride it at home. It's much safer there. How many deaths or injuries do you hear about happening to people on stationary bikes?

Ed McDevitt from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 11:54 AM

I'm a Divvy Bikes subscriber in Chicago. You pay an annual fee ($75) and can ride their rental bikes ( unlimited times in a year, with each individual ride limited to 30 minutes. If you want to go longer, you stop at a bike station, return the bike, then take it out again for another 30 minutes. I use Divvy bikes in various parts of Chicago, but mainly to ride from the L station nearest our Public Art Chicago Office to the office, then back again later. Yeserday I had just crossed a main thoroughfare and was picking up speed when a driver opened his door just as I got to his car. I was thrown off the bike into the street, landing on my left side and rolling to my back, banging the back of my helmeted head on the pavement. The helmet saved me from a serious head injury. Today I ordered a new one - something you MUST do if your helmet receives a blow. You cannot see the damage to the foam, but it is damaged and it works only once! I strongly support a helmet law for everyone. Sorry, but the arguments about "personal choice" are without merit. I don't care to waste tax/Medicare/Affordable Health care dollars on lifelong support for somebody whose "personal choice" not to wear a helmet got her/him a brain-scramble that will never get better.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 10:50 AM

Driver - The scariest thing to me, as a pedestrian, is when I am about to cross a street and see a car fail to stop or even slow down at the stop sign - or light when turning right - and about to cross in my path. Happens about every intersection.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 10:41 AM

The debate isn't around safety. The debate is if OP Village government should concern itself with what is largely a personal choice. There are much more important and pressing issues the village needs to focus on. If someone wants to form a non-profit to promote helmet use on bikes, knock yourself out. However, OP village politicians have bigger fish to fry imho. You can never eliminate 100% of risk.

old lady  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 10:00 AM

I'm old enough to remember when seat belts in cars were something new. Now we accept them and there are continued efforts to make cars safe for passengers. Bike helmet requirements will likely go the same way. We fuss now but will get used to them quickly and someday find ourselves thinking how weird it would be not to have all kids wearing helmets. Safety is a good thing. Protecting kids' heads is a good thing.

Driver from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 9:44 AM

The scariest thing to me, as a driver, is when I am about to make a right turn and do one final glance over my right shoulder to find a fast-moving biker riding parallel to me and about to cross in my path. Happens about once every couple of weeks.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 11:37 PM

Eileen, I think a lot people agree with you that enforcement of bike rules are not being effectively enforced. Education is also a good idea and there appears to be real interest from our local cycling community willing to share their experience and expertise. This proposed ordinance has really generated a lot of interest and that should encourage the board to solict more input before taking any action regarding new regulations.

Eilene McCullagh Heckman from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 5:30 PM

If we're going to mandate bike helmets... we need to mandate proper PPE for skateboarding, kick scooters, and skates. I've been bicycling in Oak Park for over 30 years (life-long resident) and have yet to have a bicycle accident where my helmet came into play. Why not start with encouraging helmet use through bicycle safety programs? Mandating them is just going to make some cyclists steer wide around Oak Park. Not to mention putting a kabosh on Divy bikes and other bike rental places. (Rental helmet... ewww. And find me someone who owns a helmet before owning a bicycle...) Why not focus on existing laws like lights at night... using proper hand signals... and registration?

Bike family  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 3:55 PM

@Joe, we would think so...but I'm not so sure after seeing the debate and then talking to a couple trustees. I think there is an undercurrent of wanting some legal teeth despite what the Chief said. I think it all hinges on the language. If you make it too light, you're into the "why do it at all" debate...and I get the sense we want to be seen as "progressive" on this issue. (Forget that it's actually regressive & doesn't allow people to come to their own mind about it.)

Jim from South Oak Park  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 3:20 PM

As a life-long cyclist who wears a helmet, I'm irked. More of government doing things TO people rather than for them. So dad tells jr. to wear a helmet, and jr. gets out of sight, and takes off the helmet. Some cop tongue lashes jr. and his parents; the minor joy of riding a bike becomes a police issue. If the health dept. really wants to do something, get their butts into Austin and preach the dangers of gang lifestyle. One Oak Park cyclist already died this year to gang violence.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 1:53 PM

from the article the board of health's recommendation was against any type of fine and instead education. That sentiment was later echoed by Chief Tanksley when he said that they would only enforce the measure through child and parent education. I really don't think that a fine is palatable to the village board as the police chief doesn't want it nor was it recommended by the board of health. If this included a fine i don't think it would get the votes needed to pass.

OP Transplant  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 1:45 PM

If we've decided that it's the job of the village to pass laws so that people can't accidentally hurt themselves, I'd like to suggest laws against any activity dangerous enough that it requires a helmet. Also laws against anything sharp. And any situation where someone might fall. The village needs to get a lot more involved in our everyday lives, if it's going to prevent accidental self-injury.

Bike family  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 4:17 AM

Right before the vote at the meeting there was a review of what the 4-5 towns with this on the books do. It goes from "not enforced" to warnings-then-fines to warnings-then-community-service. We'll see what the language is on ours when it comes back to the Board for a vote.

Not a Fan  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 1:43 AM

Joe, I watched the board meeting. I suggest you do too. View the entire discussion including the comments by the village manager and attorney. It was made clear that if voted upon and passed, it meant the board approved the measure to include citations.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 9:48 PM

not a fan, it was pretty clear from the article that no citation was to be given. All the police would do is tell the kid to wear a helmet. It's a law for the sake of having a law; no enforcement other than a verbal warning. Kind of silly IMO and not exactly something to worry about.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 9:45 PM

Maybe the Village should mandate that everyone under age 17 should be equipped with air bags.

Not a Fan  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 9:22 PM

My opinion is to let the Health Dept run this program in its entirety. I do not want Police Officers pulled off the street to write tickets to children for not wearing bike helmets. It is over- reaction by Village Board, too controlling and a waste of resources. I am tired of the theatrics of this board. It appears that President Abu-Taleb and Trustee Barber are the only members with common sense. Resources for crime vs bike helmets? Five board members vote for bike helmets. Wow.

Bike family  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 4:53 PM

Even the number of traumatic brain injuries has to be weighed against the downsides of bike helmet laws. So it's a cost-benefits situation where lots of advocacy groups have already decided the costs/downsides are too much. We want more bicyclists so we push the education. We don't want to push buttons over making it a compliance issue. In terms of risk exposure, biking is about the same as walking. It's a safety-nut thing where people want to look safe without actually doing much else.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 3:34 PM

"And someone thinks it's necessary to mandate helmets because....?"..... Because death isn't the only negative possibility in a bike accident. Traumatic brain injury, skull fractures, paralysis and other serious injuries occur far more than 700 times annually.

MichaelO from Oak park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 1:46 PM

700 bicycle deaths annually for the entire nation. That comes to 1death per 450,000 people. And someone thinks it's necessary to mandate helmets because....?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 1:53 AM

I echo Jim about attending a Village Board meeting to comment on these issues. Or at the very least emailing the Board. It's asking a lot of them, already putting in tons of hours, to seek out opinions, particularly on lower priority issues. Here's a list of their emails: And here is where the agendas are posted, the Friday before the Monday meetings.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 11:17 PM

Jim C - Very weak arguments re bikes and age. Unusual for you!

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 5:52 PM

I regularly watch the board meetings on TV6 and look forward to hearing from you and others. Encourage the trustees to solicit more views before reaching any final decision. The health and safety evidence seems compelling. Interesting to learn some believe that helmets give a false impression that the activity is unsafe and suprising that people will give up cycling rather than wear safety equipment. I guess it's that "living on the edge" thrill.

Bike family  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 5:40 PM

It's more the first rather than the latter. States with required helmets tend to see declines in riding, blah blah blah. There's an argument about helmets giving the perception that biking is unsafe. You'll especially see European biking brought up lately because you infrequently see helmets there despite more bicyclists. But, yes, if the village is really going to cover their bases, it needs to reach out to the organized cycling community for bigger discussions. We love to talk bike safety!

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 5:19 PM

It's really the Oak Park Board of Health's report that brought this to the table. The trustees are obligated to consider how to respond to the recommendations and appear prepared to review the study. We'll have to see if members of our local cycling community are willing to offer any input. A family of bike riders lke yours should take the opportunity during public comment to offer your opinions. Based upon the findings of the groups highlighted in this story, it's difficult to understand why some people so strongly oppose any requirement. Does the helmet restrict or limit the enjoyment or benefits of riding? Is expense an issue?

Bike family  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 4:44 PM

In the general cycling community you get both sides, but usually you run across "encouraged though not mandatory." It's not high on the priority list for advocacy groups since there are so many more important bike safety issues. IMO it's an interesting ongoing dialogue among bike advocates. But the village is jumping into an already established conversation it wasn't necessarily invited to.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 3:33 PM

I'm not familiar with the debate within the cycling community. I assume these are adults involved in the discussion but input from the youngest riders may be solicited. It would be interesting to learn what are the specific objections to requiring under 17 riders to wear a helmet. Is there a consensus with the medical community? Safety experts have a clearly defined position that should not be ignored. Rarely, do Village officials join in a discussion on this forum so we'll have to listen for their views during future board meetings.

Bike family  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 2:51 PM

Jim, the statistics about the "dangers" of not wearing a helmet are only part of a much, much larger debate within the cycling community about bike safety, encouraging ridership, what speeds helmets are effective at, types of bicyclists, etc. Unless the village wants to wade into all that, it's cherry-picking something it doesn't fully understand. Notice the local cycling orgs aren't campaigning for this. We're busy having an internal discussion. Why doesn't the village join that?


Posted: October 12th, 2013 2:04 PM

Jim, I do believe John has you. There is no way to guarantee that bike riders over the age of 17 have more experience and have logged more time on the street. For all we know their car broke down for the last time and for the first time in their life they will ride a bike. I've watched kids play outside for 15 minutes, get board and ask to come back inside for the rest of the day. Don't tell me that 20 year olds today rode bicycles as much as we did by their age.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 12:44 PM

"If", John? The numbers speak for themselves and I doubt the folks who compile and study them have a hidden agenda that seeks to deny people freedom and choice. I suppose it's likely that bike riding skills improve through experience and those over 17 have logged more time on the street and are used to dealing with a variety of traffic issues. Adults who wear a bike helmet were probably not forced to by a parent or guardian. They do so for safety and protection purposes. The proposed ordinance still faces questions about the role police officers will have regarding enforcement. I'm sure board members will want to continue their discussion prior to taking action.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 10:32 AM

Jim - If the statistics are so overwhelming and safety is a government responsibility, why was everyone 17 and over excluded from the ordinance. Hopefully, you won't tell me that adults are better bike riders than those under 17.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 1:39 AM

Confusing positions being expressed on efforts to make sure children are safer when on a bike. We've all seen young and inexperienced riders struggle at times with operating and navigating. We probably all fell off our own bikes on occasion as children. A bike helmet does provide some protection and are worn by the professional athletes who compete in road cycling sports and the X Games. They recognize the risks. The notion that government has no role in legislating this public safety issue seems to ignore the statistical evidence offered by the CDC, NHTSA and medical groups. There are countless examples of consumer protection rulings applied to playground equipment, toys, clothing, cribs, etc.,. that were not intended to infringe on choice and freedom but viewed as the responsible thing to do.

We are not men from We are Devo  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:10 PM

Freedom of choice, is what you got. Freedom from choice, is what you want.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:47 PM

Jim C - I doubt that there is any poster, or for that matter any person in the village, that are pained by the horror of the death of a young child. We all have a role in protecting children from danger. The question is: Do we need government to decide what is dangerous and how to ensure safety? Does government accomplish that with ordinances without teeth - enforcement? Is the board setting precedence for other child dangers - snowball fights, sleigh riding, playground equipment, scooters, skates etc.?

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:33 PM

Jim, choice and freedom come with risk. What's that saying? Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither?

Bike family  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:52 PM

Jim, we like to think helmets are the key to bike safety, but not really. The number of head injuries where your helmet can save you is pretty small compared to the number of people who ride dangerously because they are wearing a helmet. It's complicated and even within the bike community there is disagreement. Not something for the village to settle, IMO.


Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:48 PM

I thought this ordinance was to figure out when someone was riding a stolen bike. Most bicycle thieves don't carry around a helmet, just in case. As I've had many a bike stolen, I think this is a great ordinance.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:45 PM

So much of this discusssion has focused on the issues of choice and freedom while seeming to ingore the startling statistics featured in the WJ report. I attended a wake a number of years ago for a 6 year old who played on the t-ball I coached. She died from head truama resulting from a bicycle accident. A tragedy for her family to endure and a crushing experience for all of us who knew and loved Kelsey Glenn.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:33 PM

In the summer time, I would sure like the personnel of the Health Dept. take Tuesday and Wednesday off and out of their air conditioned offices to work weekends in an effort to save the children from themselves. After all bad health takes no days off.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:04 PM

Yes, it is very MM-esque. The difference though is that MM was a resolution. This issue is going to be a law. If "enforcement" of this law is strictly education, then I'm not understanding why it's a law. One Trustee mentioned that we already have ordinances that first start with education, so this (the bike helmet ordinance) isn't that different. Do those others start with education, and then escalate to warnings and fines? Or do we have a lot of educational ordinances on the books? Don't know.

Bike family  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 1:41 PM

Meatless Monday! You're right, John. My question is why is this coming from Health, then the trustees? It's a minor issue that needed be dealt with via outreach from Village Hall at community events. We have more pressing issues to debate at the Board table. Just like, yes, OPPD has better things to do than stop kids to lecture them about not wearing a bike helmet.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 1:27 PM

Bridgett - " No one is debating whether or not law enforcement should enforce a law." I assume that your comment includes the board. Clearly, the board did not discuss/debate whether the law will have an enforcement policy. The precedent for the law seems to be Meatless Monday.

Bike family  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 12:53 PM

Bill's mistake aside, it's still an interesting point. If I allow my kids to ride without a helmet: what are the chances they will be stopped for only this? Very low. And, what's the point if all they have to do is say "thanks for the info, officer, my parents let me ride without one" and there's nothing that officer can do. My guess is these educational discussions will happen mostly with kids already doing other things wrong. Otherwise, why bother? It is (and should be) a low priority.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 12:47 PM

Thanks, Bridgett. My mistake.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 12:39 PM

Bill, no, bike helmets are not required by law. Once this ordinance passes (which it will, since the direction to staff to write the ordinance passed 5-2 at the Board meeting on Monday) yes, it will then be a law. So what this article is talking about, and what these comments are talking about/debating, is the Village Board's decision to make it a law. No one is debating whether or not law enforcement should enforce a law.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 11:48 AM

What part of the term "law enforcement" don't some of you people understand? Helmets are required by law; police enforce the law. Or should they just ignore the law and decide when they DON'T do their legal duty?

David Kindler  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 11:29 AM

Helmet are important, but for me remain a decision made by parents for their own kids. Protecting all bikers and pedestrians by enforcing moving violations for motor vehicles might help more. Walk down any side street and see how often a car rolling through a stop sign almost hits you.

Bike family  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 9:32 AM

If the village is so interested in having more kids wearing bike helmets, why not get businesses to donate helmets to be given away? Have them available at schools and village events. Pick one up at Village Hall during business hours. No new rules or police action needed.

craig from oak park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 8:16 AM

Lets have the police keep focusing on preventing and solving CRIME. I am all for bike safety but lets keep that up to theparents.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 9:05 PM

It's a shame seeing the current board joining board's of the past in writing ordinances and law that will not enforced.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 8:01 PM

@Bike family, whatever your informed decision is, there will be an ordinance that will make it mandatory for your children under 17 to wear bike helmets. That means that if your decision is for your children not to wear helmets, they will be in violation and can be stopped by a police officer. While some trustees may think that being "pulled over" by a police officer is super duper, I think it's...not. There are other ways, positive ways, for my kids to interact with our OPPD.


Posted: October 9th, 2013 7:33 PM

This would be a great way to distinguish OP bikers from those coming into our village to steal bikes. Also gives the police a way to stop them without profiling. Let's get this passed.

Bike family  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 6:14 PM

I don't mind this as long as it respects that parents and kids may have already made an informed decision together. Education is fine. But for some of us, this has already been a discussion in our household. And the outcome of that discussion is our business, not the village's.

john murtagh  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 2:51 PM

Jim - there are plenty of violations that a cop could pull a biker over for and don't. The most glaring is the lack of lights at night.

OP Dad from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 2:10 PM


Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:37 PM

It would also improve bike safety if cyclists followed the rules of the road such as obeying stop signs, traffic lights, etc. I see many of them ignore road rules frequently, usually adults old enough to drive cars.

Jim from South Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:36 PM

It's the Nancy Pelosi way: Pass it, so we can find out what's in it later. So here's a find-out-what's-in-it-later thought: Great tool against bike thieves. OP police can pull over anyone on a bike without a helmet. How many bike of thieves do you suppose wear helmets?

joe from south oak park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:29 PM

Last I looked the proposed ordinance only allows a Terry stop for the officer to say "hey kid, wear a helmet" That's it... No citation, no impound of the bike, no anything. Not exactly ground breaking or a violation of anyone's rights IMO. I'd prefer a situation where there might be a cooperation between the village and a couple of stores where an officer could issue a "citation" once or twice a month to a helmet wearing child that would be worth a soft-serve cone or something.

john murtagh  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:27 PM

Common Sense - That's Nonsense.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:26 PM

If we can save just one child.....

john murtagh  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:00 PM

Somerthing Needs To Be Done - The keyword in your post is CHOICE, and free choice is a natural right of every person. If the board chooses to take the Choice away from the residents, it needs solid proof that their solution is appropriate and one that the residents support. The will of five is a dangerous thing when facts and rationality is missing.


Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:56 PM

I agree with "needs to be done" We need to ENCOURAGE bike safety, at an early age. We can go on and on about National stats of accidents prevention NHTSA recommendations. But remember helmet use is not a magic bullet! Bike riders and automobile drivers will not automatically become safer drivers because of this Law. Bikers will continue to be hit by cars. Studies have also shown that automobiles drive faster around cyclists wearing helmets. Let's all SHARE the road, Thanks!

OP Transplant  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:55 PM

Bicycling is safer with a helmet. Not bicycling at all is safer still. Can't we just make bikes illegal?

B from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:31 PM

You nailed it Ned.

Something Needs to Be Done!  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:16 PM

The facts don't lie (i.e. the last few sentences of the article) and that's why we definitely need to put something in place to encourage bike safety. I'm sick of hearing about bike accidents, especially when a bicyclist isn't wearing a helmet. Why would some one NOT wear one!? Child or not, wearing a helmet is the right choice. I hope these board discussions lead to a strategy that will successfully make people understand these facts!

Ned Ryerson from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:13 PM


john murtagh  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 11:41 AM

The board performs worst when it makes decision based on its emotional gut. Board members need to leave their personal feelings at home and concentrate on the business of running the village. The biking helmet initiative needed vetting and analysis before going to the board. Clearly, based on WJ post, the issue should not have made it to the agenda much less to a vote.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 10:38 AM

I was there on Monday and it did seem that the ordinance (w/ so many holes as to how it would be enforced and what the consequences of breaking the law would be, as well as the lack of data to support such a law in the presentation by the BoH) that tabling it would have been a better option. Related, because public comments are only accepted *before* a topic gets underway, a resident can't question certain things said, or point out certain errors, like I wanted to do after the BoH presentation.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 9:37 AM

What's next? A law mandating elbow and knee pads? I'm all for kids using helmets, but we don't need yet another law on the books. Parents who need a law to convince their kids to do something are bad parents. All my parents needed was a belt. For generations kids have ridden bicycles without helmets and 99.9% of them did just fine. I get wanting to take precautions but this is ridiculous.

Lori M from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 9:18 AM

@Mike - don't know what you're talking about with biking to school being prohibited. There are bike racks at all of the elementary schools that I've seen, and Mann has bike safety tutorials every year. They encourage walking/biking to school. @Everyone else - helmet laws, as well as rules of the road, should be mandatory for everyone on a bike.


Posted: October 9th, 2013 8:12 AM

I agree with OP Chief Tanksley about not writing a citation but to continue to focus on the educational programs that promote safe biking. Using our Resident Beat Officers and neighborhood programs and working with our schools would be better than pulling our children over them giving them a ticket. We want to send a positive message, not discourage biking! I have been reading studies that mention that biking among teens was down by 50% to 90% after a city wide helmet law was passed.

Bike Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 7:33 AM

Parents start saving your money. The Health Department based their projections on $12 as the average cost of a helmet. I am sure that OP Health Dept would promote to only buy helmets at a local Oak Park or Berwyn Bicycle shop. Well the price for each helmet will be more like $29 to $79+ each. Each growing student will need 2-5 helmets until they are 17. There are no helmet grants or discount programs in place prior to the passing of this new law. Shop Oak Park!


Posted: October 9th, 2013 7:24 AM

Our elementary students that it is prohibited to ride to school from Kindergarten to 5th grade (exception of Holmes school)! These are impressionable years that they could be learning how to ride safely to school. Bike racks should be right out front of the schools and they should learn how to lock up their bikes correctly! All Oak Park Schools should support safe transportation methods, not just busing and driving. Parents should decide how students should get to school safely.

Bike Oak Park from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 7:07 AM

I am a bike advocate and a helmet user, but I don't think our Police should be pulling our students over and giving them a citation and a lecture on helmet use. We have parents, and educational resources, and the Health Department for this! Some of the board members said they wanted this because their own children didn't like to wear a helmet, but if they can tell their kids that "it's the law" then they will wear them! This sounds like a parenting problem, not something we need a law for.

John murtagh  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:29 AM

Telling OP teenagers that they have to wear a helmet is treating them like children rather than emerging adults. We need to stop treating teenagers as if they are an underclass. If we have to have a helmet law make it for ALL.

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