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Tamara File: Save lives by being role models to kids

Saturday May 30, 2020 Written by Tamara File Published in Editorials
Tamara File. Tamara File.

OPINION: We will save lives by being role models to our young people and all wearing helmets.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for rallies protesting injustice and fighting for your rights.

But I can’t help but shake my head in dismay at the idea that anyone would want to protest a law put in place to save lives.

The recently-released road fatalities statistics paint a grim picture. Our people are dying unnecessarily, and it isn’t just one age group or one cause. We need both preventative programs and safety measures in place.

Helmets are a logical tool to help us save the lives of our people. I don’t understand how anyone can be against it. I keep seeing the same old tired arguments.

“It’s the alcohol, ban it.”

No, we need to change our drinking culture through education programs that address, binge drinking and risk taking and encourage good habits.

We need to look into safe affordable transport options for people who choose to have a few drinks after work.

“Only the 16-25 year olds should wear a helmet as they are the ones having accidents.”

The stats are clear, in the past five years, 50 per cent of road fatalities have been over 30. I have witnessed with my very eyes many people in their 40s and 50s drinking heavily at bars then getting on their bikes and driving home.

Do you even stop to think about how hard it is to police such a ridiculous law? Are the police going to be out on the roads 24/7 stopping every single motorbike driver to check their licence? Having it compulsory for everyone means it will be much easier to spot those who aren’t complying. It’s common sense.

“We don’t need helmets, we need better roads and driver education.”

Yes we do, we need to improve the state of our roads, to identify problem areas and blind corners and come up with solutions for making them safer. Our drivers need to learn their road rules and learn defensive driving techniques. But if we do all these things and an accident still occurs we can minimise the risk of serious head injuries with a helmet.

“I follow the rules and drive carefully I shouldn’t have to wear a helmet.”

You can follow all the rules and still get hit by someone who isn’t as law-abiding as you, and as your head hits that hard unforgiving road it won’t go easy on you because you followed the rules.

“I don’t like the way they passed it during Covid-19.”

They announced their intentions, it was in the paper and all over social media. Are you saying if they took longer to pass the legislation you would be okay with it?

“All the people supporting the helmet law drive around in cars”

This is not true, the people supporting the law are a mixture of car drivers and bike drivers. I drive a car, but I still jump on a bike if I’m just going down the road. I was a bike driver for years, I know how little protection there is between a rider and the road so I worked hard to buy my car so that myself and my children have the extra layer of protection. I understand that not everyone can afford one so wear a helmet for that extra layer of protection.

“Helmets are expensive.”

Yes, they can be, government should subsidise them so they will be more affordable. But funeral costs are way more expensive.

“I don’t want to wear a helmet.”

You want to wear a hat or an ei? Take it with you and put it on when you get there. You want to feel the wind in your hair? Go outside on a windy day then. It’s inconvenient? I’d rather be inconvenienced than mourning the loss of a loved one.

Show your friends, your family, your neighbours and our Cook Islands youth that you love them and that you are willing to be inconvenienced so that they can live. Be a role model and show others that you value safety, you value lives, you value our people and our country.