Dr. Richard Stanwick knows the dangers of not wearing a bike helmet.
The chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority held in his hands the head of a boy who had been riding without one and fell.
“When I placed my hands on the child’s skull, my fingers basically moved into the skull,” he said.
In addition, on July 21 this year, VicPD’s traffic section officers were called to the corner of Vancouver and Humboldt streets, where a man in his 50s had been cycling around a corner and hit a rock in the street.
“That caused him to lose control and he went over the handlebars and landed on his head,” said Const. Andy Dunstan. “He wasn’t wearing a helmet and his head injuries are life-changing.”
The man is still in hospital and likely faces being released into a long-term care facility.
This week, police are stepping up their enforcement of cyclist infractions in Victoria and Esquimalt. They hand out, on average, 10 to 15 tickets a day to cyclists, for not wearing a helmet, riding on sidewalks or riding without lights at night.
“(Among) people who cycle on a regular basis, there’s a large compliance,” Dunstan said. “A lot of our issues come from the casual cyclists – folks who are just popping (out) to the store or just heading home or just riding occasionally. (But) in a split second, something can happen.”
For those who complain helmets aren’t conducive to good-hair days, Stanwick said there are worse alternatives.
“As someone who’s sutured up somebody who’s fallen off a bicycle, when you see what we do with razors to your hair,” he said, noting that riders would be convinced to opt for the helmet.
No helmet: $29
Riding on sidewalk: $135
No lights at night: $135