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How to Promote Helmet Use: Sample Presentations

The following ideas from the Florida Department of Transportation can enhance a bicycle safety presentation and emphasize the value of helmets.

Egg Drop
Materials: Sand, brick, bucket, two eggs
Have one member of the audience come forward and identify what you have in the bucket (dry sand). Have him/her stand on a secure chair or step stool and drop an egg from a height of ten feet into the bucket. The egg should not break. Next, take out a spare egg and ask the audience what minimum height is needed to break this egg against a brick sitting on the table. (It will crack at about one-half inch, and will explode at 3-6 inches.) Explain to the audience that a fall from a height of just 2-3 feet to concrete will destroy most brains. The average bicyclist sits 4-5 feet about the ground. Helmets are needed to reduce injury and death from falls.

Computer Drop
Materials: One useless computer, camera or other expensive-looking object
Hold the item five feet above the floor. Drop it. Explain that there may be a way to fix the object, but it takes lots of time, lots of money, and the item may never be the same or work properly. Explain that the human brain suffers at least as much damage when dropped. There is no neurosurgeon alive today who can replace destroyed brain tissue. The memories and functions in these tissues will be reduced or lost forever.

Melon Toss
Materials: One ripe melon; a brick
Take a ripe melon and give it a toss down the aisle. The toss should be similar to a bowling swing, where you get up speed and let the melon arc downward from gravity as it is propelled forward. The melon will survive, as long as it doesn't hit any object along the way or a wall at the end. Pass it around. Now take the melon, and from a height of five feet, drop it onto the brick below. The melon is damaged. Tell the audience that the angle of incident is crucial. A person may survive moderate or high speed forward propulsion as long as the head is protected and there is no object in the way. But, even an object that's not moving forward at all will shatter from a direct angle of impact to the ground. Only a helmet will help in this case.

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Contact the Minnesota Safety Council at msc@minnesotasafetycouncil.org, or 651-291-9150/1-800-444-9150.
474 Concordia Avenue St. Paul Minnesota 55103 USA