MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many Memphians are pedaling and scooting these days, enjoying a new way to get around town.
We’re talking about explore bike share and bird scooters.
But not many are wearing helmets, which state law requires if you’re under 16-years-old and on the bikes and for everyone riding the scooters.
Radhika Puri is a Memphis native who now lives in D.C.
She doesn’t remembers what caused her to fall off her bike seven years ago, but it changed her life forever.
“I actually woke up in Atlanta, and that’s where my memory starts,” Puri said. “I was with my best friend. I was riding behind her, and she heard me scream. By the time she turned around, I had already fallen and hit my head.”
She didn’t have on a helmet, and says she hit the front and temporal lobes of her brain.
“Having a traumatic brain injury, being in a coma for 21 days, coming out of rehab and going back to school and graduating on time, is practically unheard of,” Puri said.
It’s a miracle, but Puri went on to graduate from Rhodes College.
“Every brain injury is different, but for me I had trouble with short memory. There’s a lot of people who wake up and maybe there senses are impaired, they’re blind or having hearing issues. Other people have language disabilities too, so it’s different for everybody,” she said.
So maybe, you still think not wearing a helmet is no big deal, think again.
“Between 2010 and 2016, we’ve seen over 1800 children here at Le Bonheur because of a bike accident, and many of these times it’s a traumatic head injury. So often, they were not wearing a helmet,” Susan Helms, director of injury prevention and safe kids at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, said.
According to state law, anyone riding a bike under 16-years-old must wear a helmet, and all drivers of any motorized vehicle – like the bird scooters- are also required to wear helmets.
Did you know Bird Scooters officers helmets to riders for free?
All you have to do is ride once to qualify. Then go to the safety section on the app, click helmet and one will be sent to your address.
Puri partnered with Le Bonheur and still shares her story with children all across the Mid-South, encouraging them to ride safe and take the pledge to always wear a helmet.
“It’s just a prevention measure. People don’t realize how much it can help you,” she said.
Just a reminder, you must be 18-years-old to ride the Bird Scooters and are asked to wear a helmet.