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The Necessity of Bicycle Helmet Laws

The Necessity of Bicycle Helmet Laws

Bicycle accidents have increased dramatically in the United States. About 500 American children and teenagers die each year in bicycle accidents, and three-quarters of those deaths come from head injuries (Jacques 1). Recent federal safety reports suggest that helmets can reduce the risk of head injury, but that only 4% of children under the age of ten wear helmets when bicycling. The percentage drops even more for young riders, particularly the rebellious 11- to 14-year-old age group. The younger generation often cites peer pressure, or the “nerd” factor, as the main reason for not wearing a helmet, and many adults say, “I did not wear one as a child, and I’m all right.” Although states have been slow to mandate helmet laws because of such attitudes, I support development of bicycle laws. Mandatory helmet use for children under 16 will be effective in reducing head injuries, deaths, and medical insurance costs that affect us all.

A report by the federal safety agency confirms mandated helmet laws reduce the risk of head injuries when bicyclists are involved in an accident. The majority of fatal bicycle accidents involve collision with a motorized vehicle of some kind. According to Louis Jacques, Assistant Professor at Wayne State University, bicycle-associated injuries account for an estimated 600,000 emergency room visits yearly in the United States, and about half of the bicycle accidents are head trauma. However, the federal safety report shows that bicycle helmets can reduce this number of head injuries by 85 percent. Unfortunately, the report also confirms that the use of bicycle helmets remains low unless mandated by law (296). Despite the fact that helmets don’t pre…

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…ncreased helmet use, will not only reduce head injuries by 85 percent, reduce deaths, and save millions of dollars for families and taxpayers, but also will spare parents immeasurable anguish. Regardless of one’s personal stand on the use of helmets, it can’t hurt bicyclists to wear them; it can certainty help. Bicyclists should use their heads by putting helmets on them!

Works Cited

Baum, Bob. “Bicycle Injuries.” The Seattle Times. 22 Oct. 2013: A1.

Carnale, Jim. Personal Interview. 22 April 2013.

Jacques, Louis “Cycling.” Public Health Report. March 2014: 296-301.

Pessah, Joseph. “Safe Cycling.” Newsday. 20 Nov. 2014: 7-8.

Sacks, Jeffrey. ” How many Are Preventable.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 4 Dec. 2013: 3016-18.

Weiss, Barry. “Bicycle helmets.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 4 Dec. 2013: 3032 -33.

The Sad Fate of Our Old Growth Forests

The Sad Fate of Our Old Growth Forests

The Pacific Northwest houses magnificent old-growth forests — thousands of years old. Poker straight and virtually blemish free, 200 to 250-foot Sequoia, Redwood, and Douglas trees rise from the forest floor and choke the mountainsides with one of the world’s most precious natural resources, wood. This substance we call wood caters to all needs of living creatures. While people rely on harvested wood for shelter, furniture, and heat, wildlife depends on both living and dead wood to produce food, shelter, and cover from predators as a means of survival. Herein lies the problem. Can both humans and wildlife exist comfortably, even with recent logging practices in the Northwest? Since people and wildlife are vying for this same precious resource, in turn, the logging issue has exploded into a social war concerning who is more important — wildlife or people. Many conservationists and environmentalists claim the logging industry is rapeing the old-growth forests of their ability to sustain natural life by clear cutting them. On the other hand, many top executives of wood product companies, mill owners, and loggers disagree. They believe there is plenty of lumber for “all species,” and because of proper forest management techniques, the ill-fated efto the forest environment are non-existent. Despite the logging industry’s claims that there should be no restrictions for harvesting ancient forests, I believe the government should implement tighter restrictions on logging practices in the West. These forests are crucial to the existence of the complex ecosystems that teem within them. Wildlife depends on the diversity of these ecosystems for survival, and society has an obligation to pres…

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… people and animals alike benefit from wood products in one form or another. But who are we to decide whether or not to harvest our old-growth forests? Much is known of the biodiversity unique to ancient forests, yet so little is known, too. As humans compete with wildlife for a precious resource such as wood, many different species are riding the rollercoaster of survival and while society is controlling the speed of the rollercoaster’s course, maybe we should be wondering about tomorrow. After all, these forests grow nowhere else in the world.

Works Cited and Consulted

Ancient Forests: Rage Over Trees. Videocassette. National Audubon Society, Turner Broadcasting System, INC., WETA, Washington D.C., 1989.

Chase, Alston. In a Dark Wood. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin 1995.

Krajick, Kevin. “The Secret Life of Backyard Trees.” Discover Nov. 1995: 93-101.

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