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Sunday, October 24, 2021
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Use Your Head, Be Safe

Teaneck—With spring finally here, people are pulling their bicycles out of their garages, and children are riding up and down the sidewalks on bikes and trikes, enjoying the sun and exercise. Familes are going on biking trips, the roller skates and in-line skates are being oiled and prepped for a season of fun. But riders and skaters beware. You should use your heads and wear helmets to stay safe, just in case you fall or get hit by a vehicle. We know this from bitter experience.

This month is my brother Heshy’s 69th birthday and July 19th will be his 43rd yahrtzeit.  In 1971, when many people did not recognize the need to wear a helmet while riding a bike, Heshy, a pediatrician doing his residency in New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, rode his bike to shul every weekday morning for Shacharis.  Sadly, three days after Tisha B’Av, while riding without a helmet, he was hit by a city bus and died from blunt force trauma.  A helmet could have saved his life.

About 20 years later, a young teenager I know was riding his bike on River Road in Teaneck.  He hit a pot-hole, was thrown from his bike and hit his head on the curb.  The helmet he was wearing split in half.  He was taken to the emergency room at Holy Name Hospital.  After examining him, the doctors told him that the helmet had saved his life.  Had he not been wearing it, his head would have looked like his helmet and he would have suffered my brother’s fate.

Legally in N.J. children under 17 must wear helmets when they ride bikes, use skateboards or roller skates.  It doesn’t hurt to wear them while ice skating, too. Our skulls do not get harder as we age, so it is important to remember that adults need helmets as much as children do.  Parents who ride without helmets set a poor example for their children and are risking the possibility that their children may become orphans, as were my two nephews.

In memory of my brother Heshy, I beg families with bicycle riders, skateboarders and skaters to make sure that everyone in your family (including you) wears a helmet when they ride a bike, skateboard or roller or ice skate.

Use your head!  Wear a helmet!  The life you save may be your own.

By Chana Senter

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