Fredrickson: CSU students need to wear their bike helmets

Michelle Fredrickson

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

It should go without saying that in a city with a lot of people riding their bikes, everyone needs to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, this is something that does need to be said, because the amount of Colorado State University students I’ve observed biking around without a helmet is mind-boggling.

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Students riding without a helmet are putting their lives in danger, which is problematic when they are investing so much in their education. Collegian File Photo

Come on, CSU. Get your collective act together and put that helmet on. Students here are paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to invest in their brain—learning new information, expanding horizons, working toward a degree. When people put that much of an investment into their brain, why not take a simple step to protect it?

In my first semester at CSU I biked everywhere, just like everyone else. One day I’d biked about 5 miles and then it started to rain suddenly and hard, as it often does in Colorado autumns. I’d had a really stressful day and I distinctly remember thinking ‘If I was going to get hit by a truck any day, it would be today.’

Four blocks from my apartment, I got hit by a truck. Not a semi-truck, just a Ford F150, but still, it could have been serious. I was thrown from my bike into the sidewalk, where I smashed my head against the curb. Luckily for me, I was wearing a helmet. My helmet was dented, but my brain, the thing I’d invested more than $40,000 into at this university alone, was fine.

One study shows that students actually don’t believe that wearing a helmet is proven to help people. Let me clear this right up: It is. As many as 97 percent of fatal bike accidents involve no helmets, and wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by half.

I could quote more statistics at you, but at this point everybody knows that wearing a helmet is a good idea. And yet, some people forgo the helmet anyway.

When people put that much of an investment into their brain, why not take a simple step to protect it?

Many students around the country brush off not wearing a helmet by saying they don’t need it, and that they’re good bikers so it’s unnecessary. This is not true, because even if you’re a professional biker you are still at risk from other people. I wasn’t doing anything wrong when I got hit by the truck. That was entirely his fault. But I could have had serious injuries if I hadn’t worn a helmet.

Studies have shown that college students in particular tend to underestimate their risk from others in reference to their safety, which makes sense in an age group well known for feeling invincible. Students have to take a step back and recognize that they aren’t invincible, and just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Some may do it because they don’t like the way the helmet looks. Especially teenagers tend to think it looks ‘uncool.’ This also couldn’t be further from the truth, because nothing looks as cool as brain safety. And when you think about it, you’re paying a lot of money to be here to further your future. Are you paying that money so you can have perfect hair every day? No. Helmet hair is not a good reason not to use this lifesaving equipment.

Take the investment you are making in your education seriously and protect your brain. That intelligence looks good on you.

Michelle Fredrickson can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @mfredrickson42

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