Quote of the Day: On Not Wearing a Bike Helmet

german helmet ad photo
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Caption on German Ad: "Be careful when transporting fragile goods." Consumerist
A comment from Rick to our post The Bicycle Helmet Debate is Over. Really. deserves special notice:

Let me first say that I didn't start wearing a helmet regularly until AFTER I WOKE UP FROM THE COMA. Before I fractured my skull and bled an epidural hematoma the size of a navel orange, I used some of the inane arguments I have read above.

I used to joke that helmets messed up my hair. That was before the brain surgeons shaved my head and then closed up the suture with stainless steel staples.I used to say that I'd rather just die than end up a paraplegic or whatever scenario I concocted. The problem is that dying might be easier than what follows a head injury. Volunteer at a neurological rehab hospital some day.

Helmets can't save you from every accident. Nothing can. But they can save you from a lot of accidents, maybe even most of them. If I had been wearing one on Dec. 2, 1988, I might not be taking anti-seizure pills every day, twice a day, for the rest of my life. If I had been hit by a truck, I might be dead. But I wasn't hit by a truck. I fell off my bike. Many, many life-changing, even life-ending head injuries occur at low speed. At the top, I might have been riding 20 mph and I didn't run dead-on into an object so the speed doesn't even matter. I fell off my bike. That's all it takes.

To argue that because they won't prevent all conceivable injuries they are somehow useless makes no sense. It's tragic, really.

I got back on my bike four weeks after my accident, three and a half weeks after coming out of a coma, with my hair still growing back from emergency brain surgery. That was 23 years ago. I have hit the pavement since, hard, with a helmet on. I got up and I rode home.

Wear the helmet. It's all the inconvenience of an elaborate hat. It might save your life. It might not. But the chance that it will is all the reason you need to wear it.

By the way, your personal style sense is not worth the rest of us paying the $X million it costs to care for you for the rest of your life if you hit your head.