The Raleigh City Council considered an ordinance Tuesday making bicycle helmets mandatory for all children under 16. Members sent the proposal back to committee after members suggested expanding the requirement to include roller bladers and skateboarders.
Flythe Cyclery in Raleigh has been encouraging the use of bike helmets for the past 10 years.
"That's the first question I ask everybody," says Flythe's Brian Molloy. "As soon as I'm done selling a bike, I ask, 'Do you have a helmet?' That's the most important thing is to make sure our customers are safe when they're riding."
Molloy says helmets are becoming more accepted, but only about 5 percent of children in North Carolina wear them. Many helmets are now made with kid-friendly designs and colors.
Each year, an estimated 140,000 children are treated for head injuries sustained while bicycling, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. Helmets reduce the risk of serious head injuries in crashes by as much as 85 percent, and the risk for brain injuries by as much as 88 percent.