Dr. Contreras Ensures Biking Safety for Local Children

Reprinted With Permission From Sachse News
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009

By Patty Montagno
Sachse News Staff Writer

Bike safety and the importance of wearing a helmet. "Head injury is the number one cause of serious disability or death in bike, rollerblade or skateboard accidents." Contreras said the bicycle helmet giveaway is part of a statewide effort called Hard Hats for Little Heads by the Texas Medical Association.

"The program is designed to educate Texas children and their parents about how to prevent head injuries by wearing a helmet when bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and when riding scooters," he said. "Hundreds of children in the United States die each year because of a bicycle crash.

Another 300,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for severe head injuries. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if the children had worn bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent, yet only about 40 percent of cyclists wear one when they ride."

Contreras said Sachse Police Officers Chris Holland, Lester Price and Andrew Abbott will be assisting during the bike rodeo by escorting any participating children through a special
bike road course.

"Dr. Contreras is providing a great community service," Holland said. "Bike rodeos are most kids' first and only exposure to bicycle safety training. Most parents bring their children
to rodeos. With local businesses and good community members like Dr. Contreras sponsoring events like this, more children and parents will be able learn bike safety." Dr. Robert Contreras

Contreras said he believes that taking time to teach children how to ride safely is another key to prevent accidents and injuries.

"Parents should insist that children wear a helmet any time they ride a bike," he said. "Accidents can happen on sidewalks or bike trails as well as streets. Children who receive a helmet with their first bicycle may view wearing the helmet as a natural habit."

Contreras cautioned that a parent should also wear a helmet if riding a bike with their children.

"The AMA urges all riders to follow traffic laws such as observing all signs, signals and pavement markings, using correct hand signals when turning or stopping and using headlights, taillights, and reflectors when riding after dark," he said.

"Reports also suggest that bikes be checked to make sure they are adjusted properly and that the brakes are functioning correctly. It is also advisable to wear bright clothing and avoiding riding at night and in wet weather."

Contreras said the AMA report gives specific guidelines for wearing a bicycle helmet.

"To provide maximum protection, a helmet should fit squarely on top of the head and should not twist or rock from side to side or front to back when strapped securely," he

"Making helmet use the family rule is a great way to ensure safe bike riding and safe participation in many sports. Studies have shown that more than half of children said they would wear a helmet
if their parent insisted."

Contreras stressed that when a family commits to making their child's environment safer, it shows.

"I strongly believe education should stress health and safety issues," he said. "It's always important to play it safe. The bottom line is that responsible bicyclists are involved in fewer accidents."