Injury To Young Cyclist Draws Attention To Helmet Law

July 31, 1991|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff writer

A 9-year-old bicyclist was injured Sunday when he collided head-on with a pickup truck on a Clarksville highway, county police said -- anaccident that once again has highlighted the county bicycle helmet law, since the victim was not wearing a required helmet.

Police said the boy, Edward Stelle Jr., of the 13600 block of Nichols Drive, was heading south along the northbound lane of Nichols Drive at 12:55 p.m. when he collided with a pickup truck driven by Ernest Shipley, 62, of Dayton.

The youth was listed in good condition yesterday at Johns HopkinsHospital, where he was receiving treatment for lacerations and minorinternal injuries. He will not be cited for failing to wear his bicycle helmet, police said.

No traffic citations were issued for the accident, police said.

While police had issued 12 warnings as of July 1, they have not yet issued any citations for the helmet law, which went into effect last October. The law requires bicyclists under age 16 to wear a helmet while riding on county roads or pathways.

Under the county police department's helmet citation policy, a cyclistmust rack up three warnings before a civil citation is issued. Thoseviolations are punishable by fines of up to $50 for a first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses.

"We're still looking at this lawas educational," and it is not likely that police will enforce the law with citations, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman.

The boy's father, Edward Stelle Sr., said his son usually wears a bicycle helmet but did not have it on Sunday. The helmet wouldn'thave made much difference in preventing his injuries, Stelle said.

Rescue services officials report that fewer than 10 helmetless bicyclists have suffered serious injuries this year along county roadways. In most of those cases, a helmet would have made little or no difference, fire and rescue services Battalion Chief Donald R. Howell said.

"In the cases where we've seen serious injuries or fatalities, Idon't think a helmet would have spared the tragedy," Howell said. "Usually, the significant trauma is to the body, as in massive internalinjuries."

A state study recently done in Howard County shows that roughly 50 percent of county bicyclists are wearing helmets, compared to about 10 percent before the law's passage.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.