Theproblem that Senator Skindell and his peers are trying to addressthrough the authoring of the bicycle bill is the risk of accidentsrelated to bicycle riders (who do not wear helmets) who are 18 yearsand under in State of Ohio. Lack of wearing helmets puts these ridersat risk in the event of accidents and this exposes them to death andrisk of injury. This problem is solvable if relevant stakeholderswork together. The process starts with legislation. The bill seeks toencourage the use of helmets to reduce the extent of the headinjuries as a result of bicycle-related accidents involving minors.Bicycle accidents cause an estimated 1300 deaths in the United Statesof America alone every year. Most of the bicycle related deathsresult from severe head damages. According to the case studyconducted by Thompson and his colleagues, 65 percent and 68 percentof brain and serious brain damages respectively occurred toindividuals under fifteen years of age (Thompson, Rivara and Thompsonet al 1989). This statistic shows that minors cover the highestnumber of bicycle accident victims and, therefore, need moreattention. The problem of bicycle-related accidents amongst minorsaffects many groups of stakeholders including but not limited to theminors involved in the accident, the parents, the insurancecompanies, hospital congestion, education and the state government.Insurance companies are the ones to cover the medical bills for thepeople involved in such accidents. The students are forced to missschool due to these injuries and this affects the education sector.However, even with evidence showing large number of deaths andinjuries, the public is still adamant to accept the use of helmets,therefore leading to the need to formulate a law to encourage the useof helmets. Government intervention is crucial to help reduce thenumber of deaths and injuries resulting from riders who do not wearhelmets since the private sector is doing nothing to adress theissue. For example the stores that sell bicycles do not require theircustomers to buy helmets this can be considered to be both markertand information failure.
Enactmentof the would indeed result in the reduction in thenumber of deaths and injuries as a result of head injuries. This isbecause of the protection of the heads of bicycle riders againstphysical damage. Individuals under the age of fifteen account for thehighest percentage of victims from bicycle accidents. From Thompson’scase study, among the 235 case-patients that had head injuries, 143were children. This number accounts for 60.9 percent of the casevictims. Of the 99 individuals who suffered brain injuries, 65percent were children below the age of fifteen. However, there wouldbe financial implications that may come with the enactment of thepolicy (Thompson, Rivara and Thompson et al. 1989). Theseconsequences include an increase in the expenditure of local criminaljustice by up to 5000 dollars annually due to prosecutions. Thisspending would lead to a rise in tax burdening of the citizens orslowing down of other public funded projects. The enactment of thepolicy would also lead to the rise in the work of law enforcementagencies and the judicial system. Even if some revenue would also begenerated from the enactment, the money collected would beapproximately 5000 dollars. This would lead to zero net financialgain (Thompson, Rivara and Thompson et al. 1989). Therefore, from afinancial point of view, the Bicycle Safety Fund is an impracticalidea. However, the cost related to implementing the bill is nothingcompared to the number of young lives that would be saved as aresult.
Weighthe gains against the cost of enacting the bicycle policy it wouldbe significant to think in terms of the financial implication ofadopting the policy and the benefits that would result from thepolicy if enacted. The cost of implicating the law would be lowbecause of the small number of anticipated offenders annually. Someof the cost would also be compensated by the imposing of the 25dollar fines on the offenders. The monies collected would also bebeneficial in terms of purchasing helmets for needy families andhence increase the safety of bicycle riding on roadways. Theintroduction of the law and subsequent fining of offenders wouldencourage the use of helmets that would reduce the head damages by upto 85% (Thompson, Rivara and Thompson et al. 1989). This anticipatedreduction of risk of head injuries would in turn reduce the cost ofcompensation incurred by insurance companies and congestion in healthfacilities in the state of Ohio.
Therecommendation would, therefore, be to enact the policy. This isbecause the benefits of implementing the law would outweigh thelimitations as discussed in herein. It is better to reduce theinjuries and death as a result of the accidents involving bicyclesthan treat or loose children because of ignorance. In conclusion, itwould be cheaper for the state to adopt the bicycle policy and reducethe number of head injuries than let the injuries continue causingdeaths and congest intensive care units in hospitals.
Thompson,R. S., Rivara, F. P., & Thompson, D. C. (1989). A case-controlstudy of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets. NewEngland journal of medicine,320(21), 1361-1367.