Did you know that more than 26,000 children nationwide suffer traumatic brain injuries every year as a result of bicycle accidents?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than half of children ages 5 to 14 wear helmets, and older children are less likely to wear their helmets.

One year ago, New Albany City Council approved a law that makes it illegal for cyclists under 18 to ride their bikes without helmets.

Parents, I promise you this law isn't about raising revenue with tickets issued by police officers. Thus far, no tickets have been written, although those with a history of ignoring the law ultimately could receive a ticket in the future.

This law is about saving lives by creating better habits. When my fellow City Council members and I approved New Albany's under-18 bike-helmet law, we wanted to help create an environment in which wearing helmets became the norm.

As an avid cyclist, I have had the misfortune of being in a bike accident and I'm confident my helmet saved my life.

But if my story isn't enough for you, consider these facts from Dr. Howard Jacobs, a pediatric expert at Nationwide Children's Hospital:

* Cycling is the leading cause of sports-related head injuries, roughly double the number when compared to football.

* Seventy-five percent of all fatal cycling accidents involve a head injury.

* Bike helmets reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.

* A traumatic brain injury is one of the most devastating effects of cycling crashes. Arm injuries and broken bones can be treated and healed but injuries to the brain might not be capable of healing.

Think about these facts and statistics and don't be swayed by your children the next time they tell you they don't want to wear a helmet because they look "geeky" or are uncomfortable.

Just tell them they don't have a choice because wearing their helmet is the law in New Albany.

Help them make the right decision by buying a helmet they view as stylish and comfortable.

Then make sure they wear it.

Thanks for doing your part to keep our children safe and healthy.

Sloan Spalding serves as mayor of New Albany.