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Biking safety, and safely, on Sanibel

By Staff | Mar 2, 2021

To the editor:

Area media have recently reported on bicycle safety, noting that helmets are legally required for cyclists under age 16 but are a good idea for everyone, and Billy’s Bicycles was quoted in an article stating that state law requires ages 15 and under to wear a helmet.

I have been riding my bicycle on Sanibel 85 miles each week since March, and my observation is that 85 percent of children under the age of 16 (or 15, depending on who is interpreting the Florida law) are not wearing helmets. It’s the rare family where I see all members of the family wearing protective headgear. I have a sister-in-law in Alaska and a good friend on Sanibel who are alive today because they were wearing helmets in non self-induced bicycle accidents. Helmets for bicyclists should be treated as seat belts for vehicle drivers and passengers — all should be wearing them.

I have been told that the Sanibel police may restart its bicycle patrols. If this does happen (and I sure hope it does), I would count on these officers to stop families who have children under 16 without helmets and issue them advice and a warning, with a second offense resulting in a fine. Something needs to be done before serious or fatal accidents happen on our popular (and very crowded) bike paths, resulting in a fatality or serious head injuries that could have been mitigated by the wearing of helmets.

John MacLennan