BICYCLES FUN AND HAZARDOUS

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The only really big fight I had with my husband, a neurosurgeon, concerned our children having bicycles. He didn’t want them to have wheels because every spring he spent many operating hours patching up the heads of newly winter-freed young bicycle riders.

I noticed that our kids were riding other children’s bicycles because they didn’t have any of their own. So I believed that it would be safer to give them their own bikes so I could supervise them. I bought them bicycles.

My husband was furious:” Why did you buy them bicycles when I told you not to do it?”

I was working as a newspaper reporter so I argued, “I bought them with my own money”.

“He said I thought it was our money.”

“No, I said your money is our money, my money is my money,”

He didn’t speak to me for two days; the only time in our marriage I received the silent treatment. We managed to be happily married after that for more than 50 years.

Not long after our bike dispute, our -nine-year-old   daughter knocked out her front teeth by riding her bike into a tree. Then our 5 year-old son crashed into another kid riding a bike, fell off, and broke his front teeth. My 7 years  evidently received a cut on his forehead while riding his bike. It was hidden by his hair. I didn’t see it or get excited until he showed it to  me and  told me he washed his  cut off in the brook.

Our money paid for repairs to the kids.

My children’s injuries are not unusual. Bike riding can be hazardous.

A recent Journal of The American Medical Association  article ( September 1, 2015)  says cycling is associated with many health benefits, but also with the risk of injury. Trends in bike-related injuries as difficult to assess because the majority of nonfatal injuries that occur during cycling are not reported to the police and are not included statistics

Benjamin Breyer, MD of the University of California (UCLA) and colleagues analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) and found injuries associated with bicycles. They found between  1998 and 2013, there was a large increase in bicycle injuries and hospital admissions among adults older than 45 years.

The reason .the researchers believe,  is the increase street accidents and an increase in sports cycling with faster speeds. Part of the preventive action , the doctors, say  is to establish a better infra structure such as bike paths and the promotion of safe riding practice.. Would I buy my kids bikes if I had to do it over again? Yes.  I think bike riding is not only  fun in childhood but a means of freedom and transportation. In fact, I am  thinking of getting myself an adult tricycle.If I knock out my front teeth, people will think it is just my age.

bike2PS My late husband, Dr. Arthur Winter, was instrumental in getting the use of helmets in biking, skiing and other sports in New Jersey.

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