Young people should use helmets

Young people should use helmets


Upon discovering accident statistics among cyclists, the class transformed itself into an advertising agency and created a campaign to promote the use of cycle helmets.

The ideas

The students decided to focus on the behavior of youths while riding their bikes. The class was divided into three competing groups, each of which was assigned with designing a draft campaign, which would be presented to the class.

The first group regarded the wearing of helmets as their central issue, the second group focused on listening to music as a distraction, and the third group covered the use of cell phones while riding a bike.

Following a critical evaluation of the presentations, the class agreed that it would be best to organize a panel discussion for years 9 and 10 at the school, which debated the dangers of thoughtless behavior while riding a bike.

The students assumed that students of their own age acted less responsibly in traffic than younger students. They arrived at this conclusion after deducing that nobody within their age group wore helmets although they nearly owned a helmet, which they had worn when they were younger. They concluded that many students like themselves regarded it as “not cool” to wear helmets, although they were aware of the fact that helmets increased their road safety.

The class also ascertained that they did not ride their bikes thoughtfully enough, thus taking unnecessary risks. This critical evaluation of their own behavior inspired them

The initiatives

In preparation for the panel discussion, they formed four groups to tackle the different aspects of the campaign, with the aim of provoking a thoughtful reflection on road safety as a basis for a change in behavior.

1. Survey Team: This group wanted to find out how the behavior of 10-year- old differed from that of a 15- to 17 –year old. They designed a questionnaire, which was distributed and evaluated with the help of our intranet and statistics software.

200 students participated in the survey - 90 from year 5, and 90 from year 10. The results were presented at the panel discussion and served a basis for the question posed to the experts attending the panel discussion.

2. Poster Team: This group designed posters that demonstrated the dangers of thoughtless behavior on the road, while simultaneously advertising the panel discussion. They also designed the slogan ‘Use your head!’ and distributed posters in the school building.

3. Street-Art Team: This group aimed to draw attention to the danger spots and to highlight the risks at these spots. In order to achieve this, they designed a pictogram stencil of a victim of a road accident in the same way that the police would draw a line around the injured body of a victim. This pictogram clearly shows that the victim wore headphones but no helmet. Unfortunately they did not get permission by the road authorities to paint the pictograms on the roads. As an alternative, they painted two pictograms on the tarmac of the entrance to our school, which is seen by 600 students every day.

4. Interview Team: This group chose experts who are in immediate contact with casualties of road accidents, such as the police, paramedics, the fire brigade and surgeons. They contacted them, invited them to explain the campaign and prepared questions for the panel discussion.

The project culminated with the panel discussion, in which 200 students from years 9 and 10 participated.

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