Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Safety First, unless it costs to much - Helmets

When it comes to bicycling it never ceases to amaze me how many bicyclists won’t take even the simplest and affordable precautions to help reduce their own risk of injury. Or the reasons they will come up with so they can talk themselves out of some of the most common sense means to protect themselves from injury.

I’ve ridden a bicycle prior to helmets being any everyday part of bicyclists lives. The first helmet I owned was a Bell Biker, this was the first commercially produced helmet for the everyday rider in 1975 and I bought one a few years after they came out. These were not the most attractive of helmets; it looked like you were wearing a white mushroom cap.

Now helmets come in a wide range of colors, styles, and prices. And yet the excuses for not wearing one continue to prevail. Here are some of the most common ones I have heard and my responses towards them.

Helmets are to hot to wear – Maybe back in the day of the Bell Biker, now helmets come so well ventilated there is no difference between riding without one. Besides what’s a little sweat compared to a brain injury

Do not provide any real protection – Really?? If you really want to find out ask an emergency room doctor or nurse. Broken bones will heal, brain injuries take very little to happen and you won't even realize how badly you are hurt. Lets remember Natasha Richardson died while skiing on a beginners slope when she bumped her head. Broken bones may need only a few weeks to heal followed by a few months of physical therapy. Brain injures can require hundreds of thousands in medical bills, years physical therapy, and can remain permanent. Ask yourself this do you have one million dollars and friends and family who are willing to devote years of support while you are in therapy helping you do the simplest of tasks, like eating with a fork or tying your shoes.

I can’t afford one – With companies like Wal-Mart selling helmets you can easily afford to buy one.  Still can't afford one, bring your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks or bring your own lunch for a week. The money saved will easily allow you to purchase a helmet.

I am not going to get hit by a car – In all my years of bicycling getting hit by a car has been the least of my worries. There are plenty of other significant factors that can contribute towards an accident whether you are riding on a street or trail. Including: Debris, potholes, trolley tracks, pedestrians, dogs on leashes, children, and other cyclists.

If you drive a car and wear seat belts wearing a helmet while bicycling won't kill you.

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