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Teenage son won't wear a bike helmet

(57 Posts)
JustSaying71 Mon 10-Apr-17 16:06:25

Hi – Turning here given desperation - or more exasperation. My son, recently turned 18, has been working as a Deliveroo bicycle dispatch rider for about 5 months now. I was OK with him getting the job. He showed initiative in getting it, it’s better paid than the shop work he had been doing and cycling around for 4 or 5 hours keeps him fit. Against that was the risk of cycling amidst the buses, taxis and city centre crowds where we live. So I insisted (as did his Mum) that he wear a bike helmet. This I think he did – at least initially. However, in recent weeks when I have asked him about it having seen numerous Deliveroo riders without helmets, I got the impression that he hasn’t been. Saturday, he called by my flat between jobs without helmet. I asked him about it, he said that he’d left the helmet with his bike down stairs. However, I saw from my window when he was leaving that he was lying as he didn’t have one on. A telephone call to his Mum confirmed that he hasn’t been wearing a helmet for weeks, despite her imploring him to do so.

Two things here. One is that it’s another unfortunate bi-product of Deliveroo (and other ‘gig economy’ companies) not having employees, but hiring self-employed riders. Therefore, they can’t insist on their employees wearing particular kit as a condition of the job. Two, what to do as a parent? One could take the view that he’s no longer a child, he’s a young man, it’s unfortunate but ultimately his life, his decision. The other is to continue to be a controlling parent, threaten to stop paying for his iPhone until he consents to wear one. Or someway, somewhere between these two things. Like I say, the silliness (‘I KNOW I won’t fall off Dad’) and dishonesty are really annoying me. What would others do?

MongerTruffle Sat 15-Apr-17 05:06:01

Why does he not want to wear a helmet?

Pansiesandredrosesandmarigolds Sat 15-Apr-17 06:11:33

Well, to be fair the evidence on helmets is ambiguous at best. On the one hand it'll help if he falls on his head. On the other hand relatively few cycling accidents involve that - far more are hit by a vehicle and in particular a lorry turning left. Wearing a helmet seems to make both cyclists and the drivers around them take more risks.

Pansiesandredrosesandmarigolds Sat 15-Apr-17 06:16:14

See here:
mobile.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/sunday-review/to-encourage-biking-cities-forget-about-helmets.html

And:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/should-bike-helmets-be-compulsory-fzmq69tqgf3

intheknickersoftime Sat 15-Apr-17 06:27:08

Oooh thàts tricky. It is admirable he is doing this and i totally get why he doesn't want to wear one. However, i did fall off my bike and hit my head as a teenager and knocked myself out. So i would keep gently pushing this. And making sure he has good road sense and is highly visible which is probably the most important issue. I wouldn't go heavy handed about this. If he is cycling regularly to get about he has discovered a level of self reliance not many 18 year olds have.

user1471558436 Sat 15-Apr-17 06:34:32

The deliveroo cyclists aren't that visible either.

user1471558436 Sat 15-Apr-17 06:36:50

I'd talk to the company. They can choose to use cyclists who wear proper gear surely? Where we are, the deliveroo cyclists all wear bibs. So if they are wearing bibs, they can wear hats I'm sure.

FenellaMaxwellsPony Sat 15-Apr-17 06:36:57

Did you buy the bike? If I had, I would be locking it away until he can use it responsibly, job or no job.

FenellaMaxwellsPony Sat 15-Apr-17 06:38:07

And there's always someone who pops up on one of those threads claiming cycle helmets don't work. I had a horrible accident as a teen and wouldn't be here otherwise. That's evidence enough for me.

user1471558436 Sat 15-Apr-17 06:59:16

maybe complain on twitter about the lack of hats?

honeysucklejasmine Sat 15-Apr-17 07:03:22

I'd also be tempted to remove the bike until he wears a helmet.

insancerre Sat 15-Apr-17 07:06:00

User436
The parent can't ring the company!
They don't employ the parent

Op, all you can do is advise, you can't insist he wears it
He is an adult and he is allows to make his own decisions, however wrong you think those decisions are

intheknickersoftime Sat 15-Apr-17 07:06:22

Erm, he's 18.

zzzzz Sat 15-Apr-17 07:07:12

confused he's 18. Why are you paying for his phone if he is adult and working????

intheknickersoftime Sat 15-Apr-17 07:09:33

And there are always people who pop on threads like this who completely fail to look at the bigger picture and adopt a method of parenting that i would imagine trump would adopt. I don't like your life choices therefore I'm going to stop you. He's riding a bike, not sniffing glue.

intheknickersoftime Sat 15-Apr-17 07:10:43

Zzz what's that got to do with it?

Iamastonished Sat 15-Apr-17 07:16:02

You don't stop worrying about your children when they turn 18. I completely understand the OP's concerns.

I don't buy the idea that wearing a helmet means that cyclists take more risks. That argument was used when the government introduced the seat belt law back in the 1980s.

Rudymentary Sat 15-Apr-17 07:23:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PastysPrincess Sat 15-Apr-17 07:29:16

Companies can require the self employed to have a minimum standard of PPE, it just needs to be written into their contract. The place I work for does it. However, that doesn't solve the problems immediate issue for you. Your son is now an adult and therefore can make his own choices. He can choose not to wear a helmet and you can choose not to pay for his phone.

Pansiesandredrosesandmarigolds Sat 15-Apr-17 07:30:42

Well, yes, and when the seat belt law was introduced deaths went down. When compulsory helmet laws are introduced deaths tend to go up.

zzzzz Sat 15-Apr-17 07:31:43

What's it got to do with it? hmm

Surely everything.

No I wouldn't try to coerce him into wearing a helmet by bribing him with a phone. I'd expect him to tell you you were being a prat if you did.

PrincessHairyMclary Sat 15-Apr-17 07:42:24

Stop paying for his phone anyway he's 18 and working let him pay for his own luxuries.

As for his helmet you.can advise and hope he listens but that's about all.

insancerre Sat 15-Apr-17 07:46:03

i agree with you zzz

Rudymentary Sat 15-Apr-17 07:46:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cel982 Sat 15-Apr-17 07:52:51

The efficacy of compulsory helmet laws (which tend to discourage people from cycling, therefore leading to fewer cyclists on the road and an overall less safe cycling environment) is a completely different issue to whether an individual is safer with a helmet than without. I'd always encourage someone to wear one. But I think 'encourage' is all you can do, OP, unfortunately - he's 18 and not a child any more.

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