Lamps and Helmets May Help To Reduce Accidents

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By Kerri Jo Molitor

One of the most popular means of transportation on Mackinac Island, bicycles are involved in many of the accidents here. Helmets and bicycle lamps, however, are not a common sight on the streets of Mackinac.

Chief of Police Jim Marks said there is no state law that requires helmets and it is unlikely there will be one on Mackinac Island.

"A lot of accidents involve head injuries," Chief Marks said. "Some of the injuries we've had may have been reduced by the use of bicycle helmets. We've always advocated for helmets and recommended helmets, but it is the individual's choice."

Bicycle rental shops offer helmets to renters, but renters don't have to use them if they sign a liability waiver.

"I see so many kids without helmets, I could just cringe," said nurse Ed Chambers at the Mackinac Island Medical Center.

Mr. Chambers said the Medical Center sometimes sees as many as three or four bicycle accidents in an evening, a time when bicycle lamps, if not helmets, would come in handy.

"I think [lamps are] a good idea," Mr. Chambers said. "They do crash into each other and a lot of time it's because they don't see each other," he said of cyclists at night.

Many of the residents who live in the outlying areas of the Island do use lamps, Mr. Chambers said, but most of the bicycle accidents involve seasonal employees and tourists.

Chief Marks said he didn't want to comment on bicycle lamps.

Mr. Chambers said that lamps could certainly help reduce the number of nighttime accidents.

2009-09-05 / Top News

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