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BOTD 10/23/13 "Hard Head" A John Boy Production

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David M. Katz

A John Boy Production

You have two sons.  Cooper (Coop) is nine and Leonard is thirteen.  You require the boys to wear safety helmets when bike riding.  Not only is it the law but you support the idea as a safety matter.  Two days ago you caught Leonard riding without a helmet and warned him that if you you caught him again that he would be spanked.  Coop was not part of that conversation.

Today you are coming home from work and you see:

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Neither boy has a helmet.  

Is Leonard in for the promised spanking?  What about Coop who did not receive the warning?  But, can you spank Leonard for this and not Coop?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


They have both been previously warned.

I don't think you can spank Leonard, and not Coop for the same issue. This isn't a new rule. That said, if I promised Leonard a spanking just two days ago for this, and here we are, he's getting spanked, and so is his little brother.

IRL, for me, at least, I wouldn't find this a "spankable offense". I think it would be more effective to restrict the boys from using their bikes for a week, with a warning that it will be longer--or permanent--if they don't comply with the rule in future.


Ditto on Kier.



Im with Kier

in real life I don't make mine wear them as long as they are around our neighborhood....when we go outside of our area then they do but then I'm with them. I couldn't stand being a kid would have NEVER gotten me to wear helmet for nothing......and we all lived to talk about it!!!

hugs kal


Kal is right; isn't it amazing we've all survived to the age of majority without big brother's nose up our rears?

I know of course that we do know better and that safety is the reason. Doc's right about the right thing to do being restrict usage, but my kids used their bike to go to school when they were in middle school because it was close enough that they could bike it and beat the bus more times than not; on nice days that was their transport.

As to the scenario, since I promised Len a spanking 2 days ago and here we are he's definitely 'for it'. Never mind the safety issue; this is blatant disobedience. Coop has entered 'the last chance saloon' on this. He can see the results of his brother's not listening and I hope he takes it to heart. If not, he can emulate big bro from all points!

David M. Katz

Leonard is definitely in for a spanking - just over the disobedience part. I think Coop is as well. The rule was there and he knew it and just because he didn't get a warning doesn't mean he didn't break a rule.

I also think losing the bikes for two days is a good idea - they probably aren't going to feel like sitting on them anyway. Twisted Evil 

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

Stone Man

I allowed Leonard a second chance and now must offer one to Coop ( unless he feels left out of family bonding time Twisted Evil ) Leonard will be the only one feeling the strop today. I hope Coop hearing this punishment will keep it in mind should he wonder about wearing his helmet in the future.


O.k., lets spank them for disobedience.

But then, lets spank ourself for letting them ride these bikes:

No front or backlights, no reflectors, no fenders, no chain covers... Evil or Very Mad 


As I promised Leonard a spanking I guess I'm going to have to deliver but I'm not going to do deliver even a mini Cooper.
He's entitled to a warning the same as his brother.

On the other hand seeing that I go out on my bike without a helmet I reckon the boys would be entitled to consider me very two faced, so let's just forget what I said the other day.

"Carry on biking!" Smile


No doubt about it. Lennys final warning should be fresh in his mind and he has chosen to ignore it. A good big brother might also have, while putting his helmet on have suggested his little brother do the same. There wont be much need to ban him from his bike. He probably won't want to sit on it when he's been paddled. I will send him to his room while I talk to Coop. I will find out from Coop whether he was warned by Leonard. I assume the boys had been told before but Leonard's was by way of a final warning so I will give that to Coop now. I think this is justified by the age difference and that if Coop saw his older brother riding without a helmet he also thought it wasn't a big deal. Well Coop now it is unless you fancy Leonard's fate.

I hear what people say about the old days and I know a lot of us rode around our areas like madmen at times. Whether there are more accidents now I don't know but there are certainly more cars.[/b[b]]Still, anyone, let alone a child with a broken skull is not a  nice thought.


I'm not spanking Len for not wearing a helmet.  I'm spanking him because he was specifically (and recently) told exactly what would happen the next time I caught him without one.

Coop will receive the exact same reaction that Len did the last time I caught his big brother - a warning (though I'm sure the sounds of big brother getting spanked will underscore his warning in a way that Len's wasn't).

Oh, and on a personal level, in R/L, my kids don't wear helmets. I have actually spanked for no helmets before, but that was when Tommy and a group of his friends moved from Skateboards to bike tricks - and I had the same rules there.


Since I've already spanked them this morning for failing to pull up the foam cushions to the sides of their beds in case they fell out during the night this will have to be an enhanced session with the strap.   Why? Oh Why did I ever sign up to this total elimination of risk culture? Sad 

Cruising round Croatia on a gulet style of boat earlier this year I suffered a severe attack of nostalgia that left me with some hope for the future of humanity.  We were tied up at a pier, an ordinary flat stone pier when four unaccompanied small boys around 8yo rode (unhelmeted) onto the pier, dropped their bikes as small boys do, produced handlines, then after using obviously sharp knives to cut up their bait, barehandedly baited their sharp hooks and sat dangling their legs over the edge of the pier to fish.  Shortly afterwards two other boys, two to three years older came up and after some unintelligible but good natured banter picked up a couple of the bikes and rode them round and round the uneven pier surface doing wheelies before eventually dropping the bikes and leaving.

How many spankings does that equate to in the so called Land of the Free where there would no doubt be an ordinance prohibiting unaccompanied children even setting foot on the unprotected pier?

Pi Beta

I've very mixed feelings on this since I normally rail against the nanny state and wouldn't choose to wear a helmet myself since I hate wearing any headgear whatsoever.

However, some five or six years ago when out walking the dog, coming back up the road which tends to be a bit of a rat run, down on the road surrounded by police and ambulance personnel was a local lad who had just been knocked off his bicycle by a van as he came out of his road to do his paper round. He was quite badly injured, bloodied head and arm but had been spared serious head injury by the helmet he had been wearing.

In hospital, his mother took pictures of him and his injuries and released them to the local papers to encourage helmet use - and also discourage the use of headphones while riding.

Because of this experience, and despite my own inclination not to wear a helmet, protection of my children would mean that I would be very hot on them failing to use a helmet. I don't want to have to look after a brain damaged child for the rest of my life.

The lad who was knocked down has since become a very strong advocate of changing the law in the UK to require helmets to be worn and recently completed a Lands End to John o'Groats cycle ride to highlight the issue.

These two boys are both getting spanked - hard - after I show them again the photographs taken by that paper boy's mother and they are going to visit the older lad when he's next home from University for him to tell them, first hand, about his accident.


While I have no wish to get into a dispute over the accident you wrote about Pi, there appears to be an inference that it wouldn't have happened had the boy not been wearing headphones while riding his bike.


Editor Extraordinaire
If I gave one kid a final warning, the other boy is also entitled to a final warning unless I made sure he was aware of what passed between his brother and me. Leonard gets his promised spanking.


John Boy

Jack wrote:I'm not spanking Len for not wearing a helmet.  I'm spanking him because he was specifically (and recently) told exactly what would happen the next time I caught him without one.

Coop will receive the exact same reaction that Len did the last time I caught his big brother - a warning (though I'm sure the sounds of big brother getting spanked will underscore his warning in a way that Len's wasn't).

I ditto Jack here.


Well, as there is is no law about helmets for bicycle riders here in Germany (yet) it seems like some judges intend to introduce it through the back yard.
We had a case here where the judge said to the injured bike rider "If you would have worn a helmet you wouldn't be injured THAT badly." So he got adjudged his damages only partly.
Since many car drivers aren't very fond of bike riders and like to show it in their driving style I am strictly wearing my helmet while biking. Even as my hair looks like Chip 'n' Chap's when I come to work.
So Lenny will recieve a very hard spanking after which I'll point out how very much more an injured head might hurt him. For justices sake Coop will get a FINAL warning along with the sound effects of his brothers fate.


Kai wrote:Since many car drivers aren't very fond of bike riders and like to show it in their driving style I am strictly wearing my helmet while biking. Even as my hair looks like Chip 'n' Chap's when I come to work.
This is a very important point (and one that laws overlook).

To me, there is a huge difference between a boy riding his bike around in front of the house, or even riding a few blocks over to his friends house, and someone riding for transportation (or, like I mentioned yesterday, doing stunts). As someone who occasionally does ride his bike to work (Tuesday was a beautiful day for it, though I have to be at work too early on Wed to be able to), I probably should wear my helmet more often.

I should probably start a new thread for this, but let me point out a few things that relate to this thread.

It's very hard to find facts on this topic, because most of them are either specialized (there is plenty of data available on bicycle injuries sustained in accidents involving cars), and because most other places seem to be cherry picking their data or giving 'facts' with no support or information from where those facts come.

What I can find is a place that says 'it is estimated' (though they don't say how, or by who) that 90% of all bicycle-related deaths are from collisions with motor vehicles, and that the average age for people who die from that situation is 41. It also says (once again without any kind of supporting citing) that, in 1997 (the only year they report, so it might not be representative), that less than 25 children (out of 225 total) died from bicycle accidents that did not involve a motor vehicle.

Looking at that data, I've decided to have a talk with my older boys about bicycle safety and sharing the road, and I'm going to talk with them about wearing helmets when they're biking for serious transportation (using main roads to get somewhere, as opposed to just riding up to the school or over the ridge). To show I'm serious, I'm going to stop and purchase a bike helmet of my own, for when I have the chance to ride to work.


[url=Bicycle Injury][/url]

Bicycle Crash Facts

Seriously, though - while my feelings agree with MM, and while I think the facts Pi Beta quote is one of those one in a million examples, and while I pulled (and survived) some pretty stupid stuff as a kid, I should point out that, when it happens to someone else - it's a statistic. When it happens to you, it's a tragedy. You can't wrap your kids in bubble wrap, and you shouldn't try, but you also have to balance fun and freedom with reasonable safety.


Jack wrote:You can't wrap your kids in bubble wrap, and you shouldn't try, but you also have to balance fun and freedom with reasonable safety.
Yeah, that involves the hardest and mos tricky decisions to be made 'cause we usually don't get a look into future and don't really know what kind of situations may arise. We don't want to live in a cage but we don't want to get our kids injured  (or worse: loose them) either.
As a friend of mine likes to say: "Das Leben ist eins der schwersten, aber es übt ungemein." (This Life is one of the hardest but it trains immensely.)


I have been quiet on this BOTD since I am not exactly rational about the topic. My brother-in-law was involved in a serious bike/car accident, and he survived because he was wearing a helmet. He ended up loosing his foot, and having to spend almost a year recovering/in physical therapy. So I see very clearly the potential costs and benefits of wearing a helmet.
With that being said, Jack's point about the majority of fatal accidents being adult bike/car accidents applies to his case. I can see how biking around on residential street versus major roads makes a big difference. The hard part about that is kids often have trouble distinguishing between various situations. And they often don't plan ahead. So I could see them just thinking they are going to go down the road to visit a friend, then after they get there decide to go to the mall. So rather than try to expect them to realize these are different situations, give them guidance that always applies. I know that the other thing that is often used to limit the danger is setting bounds on where they can ride. But I think going out of bounds is one of the more common things kids end up getting in trouble for, so there should be some thought to keeping them safe when they do things they aren't supposed to do.


In my teens and early twenties I was an enthusiastic cycle tourist and pedalled thousands of helmetless miles all over the UK and in the alpine regions of  Europe.  I also dabbled in road racing and cyclo cross but was never dedicated enough the endure the training regime necessary to become good at it.

The roads then were much quieter and although I never suffered a "traffic" accident  I did make a number of rather painful skin donations to Mother Earth.  In all that time though I have no recollection of either myself or any of my companions ever having landed head first.

Cycling today though with such a greatly increased danger from other traffic I would, if I was going to be using main roads, seriously consider wearing a helmet.

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