leading by example

OK, I wear my helmet probably 99 out of every 100 rides I take. I’ll admit that I enjoy riding without it quite a lot. But I know my chances of avoiding severe injury in the event of a crash are greatly increased by wearing it, and I know there’s a lot at stake, so I make a point to wear it regularly.

Now, I’m not especially interested in entering the helmet debate. Despite my willingness and commitment to wearing one, and despite the fact that I’ll recommend their use to others, I’ll be the last person to ever support any kind of legislation requiring riders to wear them. I never supported helmet laws when I was riding a motorcycle. I’m certainly not going to do so for bicycles.

Having said all that, I am positively shocked at how many people I see  in this area riding without a helmet. I am not exaggerating when I say hardly anyone does, at least not among those riding for transportation and fun. The folks I see riding outside of town on country roads and such usually have them on.

So the reason I’m posting about this is because I wanted to share a curious thing I saw on my way home from work yesterday. I was on the bike path and pulled up behind two guys, around my age, on bicycles, riding together with two young boys. They were waiting patiently, and cautiously, for traffic to clear on Maumee so they could cross the street. They were being extra careful to ensure there would be plenty of time to get across. By all appearances, they were putting safety first … save for the fact that not one of them was wearing a helmet.

Equally bad are those parents I see riding without a helmet while making their child wear one. What’s the old adage about geese and ganders?

As I said earlier, it’s your head; do with it as you please. I’m not so naive as to think that wearing a helmet prevents accidents. Smart riding is the key to that (and even then there aren’t any guarantees). And of course, a helmet won’t do much good at all against a motorized vehicle. But in the immortal words of Helen Lovejoy, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!”

Crap! I just noticed that my rear tire is flat. I guess that’s how I’ll be spending my lunch break.

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One response to “leading by example

  1. nomatter how short a trip or even around the yard I make sure my son wears his. He’s wrecked his bmx before and while it was never the head region (more like the legs or arms) he never rides without it and neither do I since I got one with my last bike. It’s held up through 4 seasons of abuse and some minor scrapes from the ice (not as fun ) but yes I agree, nearly every person I see on a bike has no helmet. While I like the feeling of the wind in my hair (literally) I’d rather have the brain bucket because you never know what idiot in a vehicle isn’t paying attention and it could save your life.