Thursday, November 24, 2011


Way back when I first started racing bicycles, we were advised to wear helmets. Most all of the races that I attended required that we wear a helmet if we were going to compete. This was back in the early 70’s – and some of you may remember what bicycle helmets looked like back then. They were leather or vinyl-covered material that we fondly nicknamed: hairnets. We would always joke about them really not doing the cyclist much good – they were primarily intended to save the ambulance drivers from the hassle of having to search for the pieces of our brain in case we were to have a bad wreck.
But the concept was a good one and, like most everything else in our lives, progress and technology have delivered us from the days of the near-useless hairnet helmets to a time when helmets are lightweight, functional, aerodynamic, and a fashionable as well as proven safety feature for today’s bicycle rider.
Participate in almost any cycling tour, race or event and you’ll almost assuredly be confronted with the instructions that helmets are not only recommended but are mandatory. Try getting on any of the off-road riding establishments without wearing a helmet – as soon as the folks in charge spot you, your day of riding on their property will come to an abrupt end. More and more cities are adopting regulations requiring that children wear helmets while on bicycles. Ride with any organized bicycle club and, if you don’t show up with a helmet, more than likely you find someone eager to let you borrow one of their spares for the ride.
There are good reasons for this. Accidents happen. And, a lot of the time the person who gets hurt the worst isn’t always the one who caused the accident. Wearing a helmet is just good insurance that less damage will be inflicted upon your head if and when an accident finds you. On that related note, you’ll notice that there are some clip art images of cyclists accompanying this article. A lot of them are riding old fashioned bikes and they are all sort of smiling and looking like they are have a wonderfully good ol’ time – and they are not wearing helmets. “What’s this?” you say. Well, for your information, all of those people in those clip art images are dead! Probably because they weren’t wearing a helmet and crashed sometime after they posed for their clip art image. Somewhere in my clip art file, I have an image of an old-timey ambulance driver at the scene of an old-fashioned bicycle wreck, looking in vain around the side of the road for pieces of the cyclist’s brain. Thank goodness this clip art is in black and white – it’s not a pretty sight.

Please, don’t run the risk of becoming a piece of clip art – wear a helmet when you…

1 comment:

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