On April Fools Day of 2000, I received an unexpected visit from two of my sisters. I thought that they were playing an April fools joke on me when they said “Jake has been in an accident” and that “he didn’t survive”. I remarked, “No, no, that is not even funny!” Any moment I expected Jake to pop around the corner and say “April Fools!” But, as I looked upon my sisters faces I could see the sorrow, parted by rivers of tears and I realized that it must be the truth. You see, my 16 year old cousin had decided to go out riding his All Terrain Vehicle in a field near his home. It was a Saturday and his mother was working, so he didn’t hear her saying “Jake, where’s your helmet?” and then her telling him “Well, get it on then or forget about riding your ATV!” So, he went out riding without it. As he was coming back home, he jumped the road in front of his home. At that time a truck was speeding down the road like a runaway train and struck him in the air throwing him off of his ATV and landing him in his front yard onto a concrete form. His skull was cracked and he died in his brothers arms before the ambulance arrived.
Although I will never know if a helmet would have saved his life, I know that his chances of survival would have been greater since he would have had some protection between his head and the concrete.
I believe wearing helmets in Illinois should be a mandatory law. Illinois is currently one out of four states in the U. S. that are 100% helmet law free. According to a research study article “Trends in Arkansas Motorcycle Trauma After Helmet Law Repeal” written by Bledsoe and Li, an increase of motorcycle crashes, injuries, and fatalities has occurred since the repeal of the Arkansas motorcycle helmet law. Take a moment to think about it. In a car you have seatbelts, air bags and bars of steel protecting you from impact. On a motorcycle, what do you have to protect you when you are most likely to be thrown several feet from the accident? No one can predict how hard you will be thrown or how you will land. No one can predict if you will land on the soft grass or on the hard asphalt road? No one can predict whether you will live or die. But this I believe, although some helmets may not be comfortable, they are necessary to protect your head in the case of an accident. Thus, saving your life!
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