Personal Injury

Rastin peddling bicycle safety message

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

It’s vital that children understand the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle, Barrie-area litigator Steve Rastin tells Barrie Today at the kickoff of the Helmet On Kids program.

With the arrival of good weather Rastin, managing partner with Rastin Law, has been visiting the Simcoe County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board accompanied by the Barrie Police Service and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to encourage helmet use.

“We purchase approximately 550 helmets a year, head out in the warmer weather and distribute them to both school boards and now we are also partnering with the two First Nations school boards in Simcoe County,” Rastin tells Barrie Today. “We also give some helmets to the local police service boards for bike rodeos and things like that.”

The Ontario Ministry of Health reports that between 2006 and 2010, 93.75% of cyclists under the age of 18 who were killed in cycling collisions were not wearing a helmet, he notes.

“We’re a law firm that handles personal injury cases, and we’re still seeing kids come in having been injured in an accident, and they were not wearing helmets,” Rastin tells the newspaper. “In some cases, the families can’t afford the helmet, and that’s a sad situation, for sure. We try to assist when and where we can.”

The Helmets on Kids campaign was initiated in the London area in 2002 as a joint project by members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the Brain Injury Association of London and Region, he says.

The program has since expanded across the province and has handed out more than 40,000 helmets to children in need.

Rastin tells Barrie Today that along with giving out helmets to Grade 3 students, the presentation includes fun exercises.

“We have a nurse who does a great presentation with a brain made out of Jell-O. The officers make the helmet demonstrations fun with humour, but the whole thing always provides lots of insight and information,” Rastin tells the newspaper. “We find that kids at the elementary school level really do listen and hear the negative impact of not wearing a helmet and they get on their parents to get one for them.”

He says parents should also realize there are penalties if their children aged 16 and under don't have a helmet — the law states if young riders are caught not wearing one, the parents can be charged.

Rastin tells Barrie Today that he would like to see the law changed to force those over the age of 16 to wear helmets as well.

“We know exactly what can happen if you smack your head on the ground or somewhere else yet there is no law for adults,” says Rastin. “It boggles my mind.”

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