Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

Helmets are so silly

Our family loves to ride bikes.

My boys

You may recall me talking about how my husband has rediscovered his love of biking, and started racing his mountain bike this year.

My boys have loved their bikes since the first minute they sat on one. They’ve also recently started riding on a BMX track, and are working towards their first race.

I have always enjoyed biking, and love the exercise as well as the family time.

We have always been strict about safety. Our most important rule for the boys has always been that when they ride their bikes, they wear a helmet. Since we started this rule from the beginning, it is like second nature to them. For our safety, my husband and I also follow this rule.

We wear helmets.

You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) by the number of people who make smart comments about this.

“Nice helmet!” (sarcastically)

“You look so silly with that helmet on!”

“I can’t believe you are actually wearing that! I would never be caught dead in one.”

“You’re just riding around the neighborhood. What’s the point?”

Our kids are also in the minority. Very few of their friends wear helmets. We’ve consistently had to remind them why it is important.

Do I wear my helmet every time? No. In fact, this week I rode multiple times without one, including yesterday. I get lazy. I don’t ride as fast as my husband does, so I’ll be fine. I watch out for cars. That’s what I tell myself. But I know better.

We have friends whose ten-year old son recently had a serious injury from riding bikes with his family after dinner. A broken collar-bone, skull fracture, and very scary, serious injury.

We also had a friend in his thirties fall at 20mph and break both arms. Had he not been wearing his helmet, the damage would have been much worse.

Our boys have fallen on their bikes many times. Several times they would have had head injuries if they had not been wearing their helmets. This list could go on and on.

However, yesterday’s events really drove the point home for me. I went for a quick lunch hour bike ride in our neighborhood. The street I was on is a four lane, divided road with a large bike path instead of a sidewalk. We ride on this path almost every day. There are always cars, but the speed limit is low and it’s safe.

All of a sudden, I looked up to see a bright yellow car jumping a curb, hitting a tree and getting airborne. Right in front of me! The car looked like it would flip, but luckily came down before that happened. There was glass and oil everywhere, and the tree fell across the path. It wasn’t a huge tree. However, had I been about 10 seconds faster than I was, I definitely would have been hurt by it.

Luckily, the young girl driving was okay.  She was incredibly shaken up, and I was able to help comfort her before the ambulance and police got there. Her car was extremely damaged. She was lucky.

But so was I. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. The tree could have fallen on me. Heck, she could have hit me with her car! I will admit that the whole scenario freaked me out a little.

We never know what might happen. But we are talking about our head here! It’s slightly important to the rest of our body.

So, call me silly. Call me unfashionable. Call me whatever you want.

We will all be wearing our helmets.

Always.

I challenge you to do the same.

Have you ever had a close call on a bike?

5 Comments

  1. No close calls on a bike for me, but I am obsessive about seat belts for a similar reason…I hit the windshield (low speed, thankfully) during my senior year of high school. My brother had an awful motorcycle wreck a couple years ago, and I’m VERY thankful he had helmet and leather on.

  2. We do helmets too… my man is a former ER nurse and not wearing a helmet was never an option!
    We are the minority as well… sad, but true.

  3. A few years ago, I crashed my bike while riding one early morning. I had my helmet on – thankfully. But my legs didn’t fair quite as well. Road rash is not fun.

  4. During undergrad, I got a lot of flack for wearing a helmet. The one time I didn’t, I was telling my mom later and she said she was proud of me… true story. It feels unnatural for me to be on the bike without a helmet. I will add, that I took a nasty spill during undergrad mostly because I was being indecisive.

    I also wear a helmet skiing. I didn’t when I first started but when were in Colorado someone took a nasty fall that ONLY resulted in a concussion. He wasn’t being dangerous; he was perfectly aware of his skiing abilities… accidents happen. Ever since then we all wear helmets.
    Once I also wore my ski helmet Wii bowling but that’s a different story…
    Katie

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