Bexley City Council members voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve an ordinance requiring all children 16 and younger to wear a protective helmet when bicycling in the city.

Bexley City Council members voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve an ordinance requiring all children 16 and younger to wear a protective helmet when bicycling in the city.

Only councilman Richard Sharp voted against the measure, stating his opposition was not to the use of bike helmets, which he supports, but the necessity of city council to legislate the issue.

The vote came moments after three people spoke in favor of the ordinance, including representatives of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Antoinette Mongillo, wife of Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson, spoke as a member of the CBJ Foundation board, a mother of three and a new member of the Bexley community.

A native of Canada, Mongillo said bicycle helmet use there was mandatory for children and adults.

She also explained that the CBJ Foundation has actively advocated sports safety for many years. She said a partnership between the team's charitable foundation and Nationwide Children's Hospital has led to the distribution of more than18,000 protective helmets to children in central Ohio over the past 10 years.

Mongillo said that on the ice, the Blue Jackets wear helmets and practice "safe play" and they strive to promote that message to children.

She said the team has a grant-giving foundation and that children's health and safety is one of their main areas of philanthropic emphasis. She said it grants about $40,000 annually to purchase helmets that are then distributed by Nationwide Children's Hospital to children visiting the hospital as a result of head traumas, through donations to neighborhood pride events, where hospital reps properly fit children with new helmets, and through donations to Columbus Police Community liaison officers and the Columbus Division of Fire.

Nicole Hodges of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital praised council for considering the legislation.

"Bicycles are a significant source of injuries to children in this country, including traumatic brain injuries," Hodges said. "These injuries are the leading type of serious bicycle-related injury and by serious injury, I mean resulting in hospitalization, long-term disability or even death. We estimate that more than 10,000 children are hospitalized for bicycle-related injuries each year and approximately one-third of those will have traumatic brain injuries."

Hodges said the use of bicycle helmets can be a lifesaver.

"The good news is that there is a proven strategy to prevent most of these traumatic brain injuries," Hodges said. "Studies show that when worn, bicycle helmets are up to 88 percent effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries. They are readily available. They are low cost. They are easy to use and they are at your local store."

Councilman Jed Morison, superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, agreed with Hodges and said he has seen the result of traumatic brain injuries first-hand.

The city of Columbus, which passed legislation in 2008 requiring children under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, is one of 22 Ohio communities with similar legislation.

The legislation approved by Bexley City Council is based on the Columbus law and allows a police officer to fine offenders. It calls for children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet.