Thursday, July 25, 2013

Helmets on Handlebars: Are you kidding me?

I am baffled by the adults I see biking with a helmet on the handlebars.  What are they thinking?  When the unexpected occurs, do they think they'll have the time and reflexes to grab the helmet from the handlebars and strap it on as they're going down?  More likely they think, "It can't happen to me."

But of course it can happen to them.  It happened to my husband 10 days ago. He was riding the lakefront path on a clear sunny morning; the path he's ridden virtually every nice summer day for the past six years.  He knows every bump in the road but just this once, riding around a small bump, he over-corrected, hit the curb and flipped.   He had a nice big 3-inch bruise on the top of his head where the helmet took the brunt of the impact.  The helmet is history.  It did it's job and his head is just fine.

Two days before his accident, a 15-year-old friend was riding with a group of professional bikers when one of the other riders swerved to avoid a pothole, knocking our friend to the ground.  He cracked his helmet and broke his elbow but the elbow will heal and his head is just fine.

Another friend had a close encounter with a squirrel who tried to cross the bike path and trapped himself in John's front spokes.  The squirrel died and John sprained his ankle, but John's helmet took the hit instead of his head.

I am, admittedly, obsessed with helmet use.  Hence my slogan: bikers with brains wear helmets.

When I see teenagers with their helmets on their handlebars, I assume they left home wearing a helmet and removed it as soon as they were out of their parents' sight.  Elsewhere in this blog, I have referred to helmetless bikers with headphones as organ donors and ranted about parents who put helmets on their children but not on themselves. These riders are collectively responsible for every teenager who's too cool to wear a helmet (most of whom wouldn't think of riding in a car without a seatbelt).

I understand the teenagers' behavior but cannot begin to comprehend an adult with a helmet on the handlebars.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Bikers with brains wear helmets.  
Fools who don't have nothing to lose.