Use Your Head, Use Your Helmet

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Use Your Head, Use Your Helmet

The Abbey School, Co. Tipperary

The Social Issue:

Inspired by a local story where a young boy was injured on his bike, the team began to think about whether the outcome of the situation could have been alleviated had the boy been wearing a helmet. Researching the topic led them to realise that brain injuries as result of road accidents are a huge contributor to acquired brain injury amongst young people in Ireland. 



The Idea:

The team set out to educate themselves and their peers by working with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and the HSE, raising awareness of the prevalence of acquired brain injury amongst Ireland's young people with a focus on the lack of helmet wearing by young cyclists. By doing this, they hoped to further UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The first step for this team was to increase their own understanding of the problem they wanted to address. To this end, they invited Anne Bradshaw of the HSE and local cyclist Jim Kissane to their school to help them understand the dangers of cycling without a helmet. They also got in contact with one of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s staff who spoke to them about the work that the organisation does and the prevalence of acquired brain injury in Ireland. Working with Cullen National School, the team developed a safe cycling course for Primary School students, helping to educate them on the importance of helmets and highlighting the safe routes in the locality. 

One of the most innovative actions taken by the team was the creation of a prototype ‘helmet reminder device’. While conducting their research, the students found that often people just forget to wear their helmet and it wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice on their part. To combat this forgetfulness, the team designed a circuit with switches both in the seat of the bicycle and at the front of the bicycle to act as a hook for a helmet. Sitting on the bicycle while the helmet remained on the hook created a buzzing sound to remind cyclists that they had not put their helmet on. 

These students now have a heightened awareness of cycle safety and the possible dangers of cycling as well as the impact that acquired brain injury can have on a person and their families

'Use Your Head, Use Your Helmet' Team Member

The Impact:

Due to the efforts of the team, students at Cullen National School have been educated about cycle safety. The team themselves have also massively broadened their own knowledge of the issues that they set out to address, and won Silver in the 2021 YSI Young Social Innovators of the Year. Looking to the future, they are hoping to organise fundraisers for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland as well as further develop their prototype ‘helmet reminder device’ for use all across the country. The team will receive a prize bursary of €1,000 which can be put towards developing their idea and increasing the impact of their innovation.

Use Your Head, Use Your Helmet Team Members Learning Cycle Safety
Use Your Head, Use Your Helmet Team Members Learning Cycle Safety