School panel backs policy on bike helmets

Wearing a helmet has all the convenience of wearing an elaborate hat. To most, it is unfashionable, but they might have to change their minds when they hear that a new helmet policy is being proposed, according to the Student Government Association (SGA) .

The health and wellness committee, which works to advise SGA, has proposed a policy requiring that helmets be worn whenever you are using any fast-moving equipment on campus. Not everyone is on board.

“Most students don’t seem to want a policy that requires them to wear helmets,” said Shaquile Adams, 21, a senior psychology major from Chester, Pa., “Most students think since they have been doing activities for years they can take their own safety into account.”

Adams is the secretary for student and academic affairs in the SGA. The health and wellness committee is made up of faculty who look into the safety of the students and present policies to the SGA. In turn, SGA reviews the policies and looks at how a policy like this would impact the campus.

Some students are opposed to the proposed helmet rule. They view it as too much control over what they do and treating adults as adolescents. “I don’t support the helmet policy,” said Dan Feyler, 21, a junior, political science major from Marshfield, Mass. “I don’t think this school should be policing kids wearing helmets. We are college students, not children.”

However adolescent a student may feel being required to wear a helmet, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute reports that helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent. “Many people get in accidents and hurt themselves,” said Bianca Smith, 19, a sophomore criminal justice major from Greenfield, Mass. “So to keep from getting in a bad spot, people should wear helmets.”

With the increased risk of injury in sports such as longboarding and snowboarding, precautions need to be taken. Just this past August, a Champlain College student died of head injuries while longboarding, as reported by WCAX news.

Some students see it as a matter of a sport’s risk. “When I snowboard I always wear a helmet, said Josh Vanlaar, 20, Junior, criminal justice major from Denton, Kan. “I skateboard and I prefer not to wear a helmet. It’s a personal preference.”

With the amount of commuter students the campus has, bicycling to school is a common practice. When the weather is conducive, students are riding their bikes to school to save money and to more around to classes. Most decide not to wear helmets on their ride over.

“I don’t wear one when I bike to school,” said Brendan Demers 20, a junior mechanical engineering major from Pembroke, N.H. Demers is a commuter student who wears his helmet when mountain biking, but not during his five-minute commute back and forth to school.

Adams noted that the enforcement of this policy will be coming from campus security. “It could range from a ticket or fine, where it could lead to some (students) not being able to use certain equipment if it became a problem.”

The SGA doesn’t want to take away any of the students’ personal choices, so they are trying to get a feel for what students think of the helmet rule. “Personally I wear a helmet, biking can be a dangerous activity and especially snowboarding” Adams said.

If this policy does get passed, students still have an opportunity to petition it just like any other policy. The petition against a policy is available so students can influence their own life choices.

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