Stubborn Teenager won't wear helmet!

Speaking as the parent of a strong-willed 14 year old boy, it sounds like yours has you and your husband very well trained. This process has probably been going on since infanthood. It may be too late to reinforce who is head of the household.

If no helmet, and you lock up his bike, you're screwed because then your life is made harder / more expensive because you have to haul his a$$ to school. Which he may prefer, because he stays up until 2 am and he's too tired to ride. So that's hardly a win for you.

This is a tough one, because you have no leverage. If mine were to decide he didn't like the helmet, u-lock goes on bike, no problem, I did it once when he was about 10, never had a problem since. He'd have to take the bus, which he HATES.

Tell him honestly how expensive the bus is. Discuss with him the actual dollar amount, show him the bill, tell him what impact it has on family finances. What you have to cut back on in other areas. Or, tell him how it impacts you to haul his a$$ around, that it makes you late to work, etc. Then ask him to help the family out, to help contribute to some of the family solutions by riding his bike, and oh by the way, the only safe way you'll allow him to do it is by wearing a helmet?

Another thing, you have to be a role model. My kids wear helmets because I ride 4000 miles per year and wear one. The other kids on his bike racing team did, and coach always did.

Maybe he has the wrong friends. A friend is not going to make fun of someone who is trying to protect his own health. What about when the topic of discussion is not helmets, but condoms, IV drug use, or binge drinking? That day is coming fast.
Coach will make him wear a helmet. Coach never has a problem being in charge. Coach doesn't feel guilty or conflicted about being the authority figure.

wooliferkins said:
Good grief,

This boy appears to want to be fit! If he likes riding but not off road find him a road club or a track club channel that testosterone! Has he read this lot? He may be interested to know that a stroppy teenager from Texas got quite good at winning one race a year, upsetting the entire French nation annually, and got to wake up with a rock star for two years. Oh yeah he wore a helmet. is down... I can't let it go! I just came back here after several months!

When bikeforums comes back up, I'm gone!:)

Scotty_Dog said:
Let it go people - this topic is 10 months old!!
headlemk said:
I live in Colorado, which has no bicycle helmet law, not even for children! :mad: My 14 year old must ride his bike more than 8 miles to his school and refuses to wear his helmet. Any suggestions on getting him to safety-up? When I caution him that his head will split like a melon, he just says (like a typical teenager) "no it won't" like he's invincible. I can't "make" him wear it. He's bigger than I and hot tempered anyway. It's necessary for him to ride his bike to school so threatening to take it away isn't an option. His dad's no help, he doesn't like "confrontation" :rolleyes: and avoids it at all cost. Help.
In addition to finding a hospice, as suggested, where there are YOUNG people suffering from brain injuries, if it hasn't been mentioned (sorry, I didn't read all the replies) then find out who his friends are with whom he rides, determine whether or not they wear helmets AND ask their parents what the deal is if they don't wear helmets.

The other alternative (was this mentioned?) is to take his bike away from him ... AND, mention that he won't have driving privileges when until he is on his own ...
My Mom had a stroke and when I visited her in a rehab facillity there were a couple of unfortunates that fell off ther bikes. Both ended up with traumatic brain injuries and were reduced to wheelchairs and being unable to feed or take care of themselves for the rest of their lives. These falls were not dramatic crashes just loss of balance and hitting the head in just the right manor.

The sight of these guys and their stories convinced me from that day on to always use a helmet.

I would also suggest that the wearing of a helmet is just one of many things a rider should do to protect themselves.Equally important are knowing the rules of the road.Look here..
I remember not wanting to wear a helmet. If my parents had got me a cool helmet i would have worn one. Cool meaning new, cool design, costs more than $30 and maybe has a visor on it, whatever the kid wants. I think the first time i may have worn a helmet consistently was when i was 16, got a job, and bought one for myself.
I live in CO and we DO have a helmet law for bikes (not motocycles).

Cyclists must wear helmets if they are 16 and under.

There is a great thread on crashes on this forum that I just had my 11 year old read. Some hard, injury crashes and some easy, walk away crashes.
Have him read that!
Though by now I'm sure it's not an issue anymore.
Even if you never fall off the bike there good for going under trees etc, done that a few times and my head not scrached up.
My helmet has saved me from a magpies sustained swooping upto and at traffic intersection with beak hitting the helmet right at the temple on both sides... I have come to blows with magpies on the first two helmets I wore oevr 15years, and they were the biggest risk I met.

Being a motorcyclist as well, many bicycle helmets are laughable. They are akin to the "beanie" helmets worn by people who just want to meet the minimum legal requirements, where they are very protective against bird droppings from terminal velocity heights, but that's about all. The back of the skull, enclosing the brain stem, is fully exposed on these beanie helmets, and their relative cycling helmets. I wear mine to avoid being fined, and for the magpies. It became habit and I never questioned it or removed it when I could because my parents said I needed to wear it when the law came in, and that was that.

As for the 14yo, I guess you need to make a stand. Do it first with your husband as it sure does undermine authority to have one parent make a stand, and a child run to the weaker one who will crumble. I'd be taking his car keys and making him late for work or whatever necessary, because I'd be damned if he can call himself a father responsible for a child and neglect such an issue especially if you're making a stand on it.

Obviously you didn't raise your sone for 14 years to see a magpie swoop him, spread a new virus which would spark the next pandemic. You can't give kids choices in safety when you want them to do the right thing and not the wrong thing. Get in the car, put your seat belt on. No "please, ok maybe next time sweetie..." because you might become a cabin ping pong ball in an RTA.

Of course he will probably just take it off down the road to spite you... which is when you need to train an angry old magpie to swoop him all the way to school.
oh geez 14 year olds don't get a say in your households when it comes to safety .. do you want them to play football without the pads ?

tell him/her to wear the helmet or take away the bike ..
last time i checked walking didn't involve any special equipment. and if he doesn't want any special equipment then walking should suit him just fine.
and don't entice him with anything with monetary value just to make him wear a helmet. the last thing you need is him not learning "the value of dollar" or so to speak.

when i was around that age i had a white mushroom shaped helmet. it was the ugliest thing anyone could do themselves. couldn't remember the brand but if my mom caught me thowing it around or pretty much not using it other than its intended purpose or not wearing it .. boy she would lay into me. one because i'm her youngest and two money wasn't very easy to come by.

bottom line is parents should give no second thought for their childrens safety. you shouldn't have to hesitate when your child's life on the line. make them learn it. make them love it. no ifs, ands, or buts.
Most Teenagers will just ride and hang their helmets on their handlebars or backpack.

I think as a 14 year old it's about choices and learning to be an individual ironically they want to follow or fit in a crowd.

Gotta say this to the parents, what type of helmet are you making your kids wear? probably a $20 Kmart / Walmart helmet. :eek: They are just uncool.

Biking is different most teenagers use it as transport, I think give the kids/teenagers a choice in choosing their helmet. Look at what the pro free riders and bmxers are wearing. Most teenagers are probably riding some sorta freestyle or bmx. One of those lids are probably more suitable probably not much more in cost either. Racing helmets would probably be excessive for their needs.

If they are riding to school, helmet hair is a bigger concern to them :eek:
Maybe take it up with the school as well to address these issues to their students. at least this they will know they have no option but to wear it riding to school.

Oh I've almost forgotten what its like to be a teenager.
1) You cannot do anything as he will just take it off when he is out of eye shot. People who think they can tell their teenagers to do things are just decieving themselves. You are not a bad or incompentant parent.

2) Get him a copy of "effective cycling" by forrester.

3) See if there is a bicycling club where he can meet real road cyclists, not just the stupid neighborhood kids. You would be surprised at the influence a 23 yr old with $5000 of cycling gear can have on your teen.

4) See if he can get work in a bicycle shop or emergency room. Commisions from helmet sales will convert him I assure your.

5) Understand that in a light traffic enviroment things like bike handling, awareness of what is going on around you, bike maintenace are more important than the helmet. Are his brakes adjusted? Too much emphasis is put on the helmet. I think gov bodies like the helmet solution as it obsolves them of all other solutions to bike safety in particular traffic engineering.

Does he wear visible cloths, or black everything? Does he know where in the road to be, or is it always at the far right side? Any bike lights? Has the bike been overhauled lately? Does he have a map of the local area so he can see if there are better routes to take, how does he chose his bike routes? Does he know how to repair the bike (did he learn from someone who knows or someone who was handy and thought they knew)? These are all as important as the helmet.

6) If there is a local century race or other tour see if he can work for them.

7) One reason to wear a helmet is that in a law suit not having a helmet and the correct reflectors will influence the amount of your recovery. So it is not really a question of what you want or what makes sense for a given situation.