Norby: Are bike helmets making kids fat?

This headline from the Orange County Register caught my eye this morning.

O.C. supervisor: Are bike helmets making kids fat?

That brings us to the bike-helmet question (the video is here, about 1 hour, 12 minutes in). Norby, a Republican who’s seeking the state Assembly seat formerly held by Mike Duvall, brought it up as part of his larger point: that children should get out of the house and exercise more. “I think bicycle helmet laws, while well-intentioned to protect kids, probably have contributed to this as well, because when you make it more difficult for kids to exercise because maybe you’re concerned about his safety, sometimes you have a negative effect where the kids don’t do as much of it,” he said during the meeting.

Asked later to elaborate, Norby said he supported the state law that requires those under 18 to wear helmets, whether they’re on a bike, scooter, rollerblades or skateboard. But “I’d like to see more kids riding bikes, and I’d like to see more riding them to school. It’s important to have the bicycle helmet law, but we have to look at the unintended consequences of all laws, and also our own concerns and fears, because Orange County’s a very safe place for kids to play, and they should be outside playing.”

Sometimes I have to wonder what this guy is smoking? And he thinks he should represent the people of the 72nd Assembly District?

  2 comments for “Norby: Are bike helmets making kids fat?

  1. Wade
    October 21, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Mr. Norby’s is one of the dumbest statements I have ever read on this blog. Maybe Mr. Norby doesn’t need a helmet because their is nothing upstairs worth protecting.

  2. October 26, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Mr. Norby’s suggestion actually makes very good sense, though I don’t understand how he also states that he supports a helmet complusion law.

    Various studies around the world have demonstrated that laws mandating helmet-wearing bring a negative impact on the population’s health.

    Of the risks to children, obesity through lack of exercise is a far more prevalent and dangerous threat than a head injury which may (or may not) be prevented through wearing a helmet.

    If you place any obstacle in the way of people being able to freely and easily ride a bike, you reduce levels of cycling, and so increase levels of ill health. And it does appear that compulsory wearing is an obstacle for some children’s desire to ride.You may not agree with the decision process of these children/parents, but that’s not the point. Fewer kids ride in places with helmet compulsion.

    This may seen counter-intuitive, but it does actually make sense.

    Here’s some further information about a study which compared the safety benefits of wearing helmets with the healthcare costs that result from compulsion.


    (A British guy who chooses to wear a helmet, but opposes any compulsion to do so)

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