Why I'm putting my bike helmet back on

Trauma sign
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

Let me say upfront that I remain absolutely opposed to mandatory helmet laws and those scary ads promoting helmet use that make people afraid of cycling. But I have spent the last four days in the Trauma Neurosurgery floor of St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto with my mom, who fell and hit her head last Sunday. We thought that we were going to lose her; now it just looks like we lost much of her; she will never be the same.

I asked and was told that there was perhaps one cyclist on the floor, and that everyone else was either in a car accident or a fall like my mom. Perhaps Mikael Colville-Andersen is right; drivers should have mandatory helmet requirements. They certainly are the main source of business for the neurosurgeons. Or maybe all seniors should have to wear helmets.

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Riding home from the hospital in the Fedex lane, I was extremely nervous pulling out into the fast moving traffic lanes to get around the delivery trucks and every other vehicle that calls the bike lane home.

Lloyd Alter/ Shuter street bike lane/CC BY 2.0

No point in asking these guys whey they don't enforce the parking in the bike lane; that's where they drink their double doubles. I stopped wearing my helmet because it was very hot, and it was very political; I am outraged at how someone can get squished by a cement truck and the newspaper article will say "the victim wasn't wearing a helmet." As if it was her fault.

But in the Toronto bike lanes today, I felt very, very vulnerable. I think I will put my bike helmet back on. And I may get one of those drivers' helmets too. As I have learned from my mom, a single bang on the head can change everything instantly.

Tags: Bike Accessories | Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Biking

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