Friday, August 27, 2010

Was I wearing a helmet?

When people ask about my injuries, which are minor, but evident due to the bandages, they often ask, "Were you wearing a helmet?" To which I must respond, "No, I was not." I reason that I was not struck on any part that the helmet would have covered. At best the helmet would have merely changed the angle of impact to my face, which may not have been advantageous. I'm not trying to be a pain or devil's advocate or anything but accurate within my limited frame of reference. I think wearing a helmet is generally a good idea, but the summer heat makes it rather uncomfortable. I have biking accidents in the past--all relatively minor--and none involving automobiles. It usually a matter of misjudgment of time, speed, or space. A helmet can be very useful in such cases, but the skull, which is all that it really protects, already is the most protected part of the body.

Guess what I'm saying is that life is the luck of the draw, and that wearing a helmet really wouldn't have helped much and might have hurt. What would've helped was perhaps wearing my denim jacket or leather. Then only my face and elbow would've been hurt and not so badly. That of course wasn't going to happen in August--maybe in October. The helmet would not have made a difference--this time. Interestingly, I'm not sure that the Europeans insist on helmets quite so much as we Americans do. I suspect that is because cycling is an everyday, casual activity--utilitarian, yes, but not an extreme sport like BMX or mountain biking is in the U.S. This blogger insists writes about that difference seemingly with some knowledge--I cannot claim to have left the shores of these Great States. I am not sure, however, that I agree with his conclusions. His own experiences suggest it is the rest of the body that needs protecting, not just the head. As I suggested in an earlier post, there is the possibility that the body may be destroyed and the head preserved, and I may not want that. Morbid, I know, but true.

The better lesson here is bicycle maintenance. My son was riding with me and I gave him the good bike and I took one that I was working on--rideable, but a work in progress. There was some looseness in the headset, and I'd stripped the drop bars of ancient tape, removed the most of the rust and was in the process of polishing it down to its original form, and planning to paint it with black Rust-oleum, and wrap it in cork. I'd also forgotten my riding gloves, which I do usually wear. I hit that pothole hard, at an unfavorable angle, but if I'd even been wearing my gloves, its possible my hands might not have been thrown off the handlebars quite so completely. A wrapped handlebar would've been even better, and zero play in the headset--priceless! C'est la vie!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home