FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - #HelmetsAreSexy. That's the hashtag being used to promote helmet safety on the University of Arkansas campus. This push comes after a student from Little Rock lost his life in a scooter accident.
Cole Pangburn, a 2014 graduate of Pulaski Academy, died yesterday after a scooter crash last week. The University of Arkansas student was not wearing a helmet. Now students and the community are pushing for change. A petition to make helmets mandatory on the U of A campus has gotten more than 4,000 signatures in one day.
"We know that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of death by 30 to 40 percent depending on the study and a traumatic brain injury by 69%," said Dr. Mary Aitken, Director of Arkansas Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center.
She says the increased focus on wearing a helmet is critical.
"For the young people who sometimes think this can't happen to them hopefully they'll think about protecting their health by wearing helmets," she said.
But others said the decision should be left up to the individual. Arkansas law only requires those under 21 to wear a helmet and the only mandatory protection required for all scooter riders is protective eye wear.
"Even when I was. I think it is a choice for the student to make," said Conner Flocks, Associated Student Government President.
Flocks has seen the petition and is working on ways to help.
"Our mission as student government is to represent the voice and common interest of all students, so that is what we will do here," he said. "The news has definitely inspired students to understand how big of a difference it can make to wear a helmet."
UAPD spokesman Gary Crain said changing the rules with scooter usage would take more than student government support.
"For it to have any legal standing, there would have to be a change in law by the legislature," he said.
This the first scooter death on campus at the University of Arkansas.
To look at or sign the petition, please click here.