MACKAY Senior Constable Steve Smith says his son is lucky to be alive after a bicycle collision.
And it's all thanks to a simple, inexpensive helmet - the "Christmas gift worth its weight in gold".
The Mackay police officer's son, Matthew, was riding his new bike in East Mackay with a mate "a few days after Christmas" when the pair collided.
Matthew fell head-first onto the bitumen road after being thrown over the handlebars.
While he suffered bruising to his forehead, a black eye, abrasions and cuts to his face, lips, chest, shoulder and forearm, the 12-year-old's new helmet took the brunt of the damage.
"He landed probably on the top left side of his head. He was driven home by his friend's mother who'd given him some first aid," Sen Const Smith said.
"He did have pretty significant injuries ... lost a lot of skin. But the image of the helmet we've got shows it got a god-awful knock and as bad as his injuries were, it probably prevented either a really serious injury or - and you don't like to think about it - something far worse.
"Thankfully there was no terrible consequences. He was sore and sorry for a while."
Sen Const Smith said he continually spotted bike riders forgoing helmets - particularly adults.
"You could walk from where I'm sitting now (in Mackay) to the other bridge and back and you'd likely find at least two people not wearing helmets," he said.
He's hoping his story serves as a clear message: Wearing a helmet can save your life.
"We (police) are always banging the drum about helmets. Yes, not wearing one is illegal, you'll get a fine," he said.
"But more importantly, we often go to traffic accidents where cyclists have been involved and you can plainly see the helmet's been beneficial.
"But when it's someone you know, love and care for it's obviously a completely different experience. I can't emphasise enough to every single person who might read this how important it is to have a serviceable bike helmet on your children."
Sen Const Smith said "your children could be riding along and if their head hits the road with no helmet, there's really an open book on what could happen".
Matthew started his first day of high school on Monday, a "little self concious of his scars and war wounds", Sen Const Smith said.
However, Sen Const Smith said that was a small price to pay, compared to what could have happened had Matthew not been wearing a helmet.
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