Thinking about helmets…
Sad news in the Providence Journal, yesterday, about a gentleman, father of two, who fell off his bicycle and died two days later of a brain hemorrhage.
I am always amazed – and saddened – that, while many parents enforce a helmet use policy for their children, they eschew them for their own use. When I teach kids, I always ask who DOES NOT wear a helmet. Invariably 1/3 of the kids raise their hands. When I ask them why, the universal answer is: “Because I am a great rider!” I think that is a very honest statement and I think that a similar degree of confidence in ability may be why so many parents put them on their kids, but not on themselves.
But here’s the dirty little secret on being a great rider and wearing a helmet: the acorn under your tire, the squirrel chasing the acorn and the dog ~ walking the bike path on a retractable leash ~ who takes up chasing the squirrel can all cause you to fall and hit your head. And they don’t care if you are Lance Armstrong, multiple Tour de France Champion or Mike Steidley, nine-times National Trials Champion and about the best bicycle handler you will ever meet. Helmets are for situations you cannot control. Helmets are to reduce your chances of being injured in an accident. Helmets keep kids safe and parents in this dimension so they have a better chance of raising their kids.
Here is a graphic that shows the decrease in head injuries sustained in kids 15 and under in Swedish study as helmet use rose from 20% to 35%. Imagine if everyone wore a helmet.
So please, kids, wear your helmets and make sure that your moms and dads do too! It isn’t a sign of how good a rider they may be, it is a sign of how intelligent they are.
Download this Helmet Fit & Pre Ride Sheet on how to adjust a helmet to fit well. Remember: helmet straps are made of nylon, which slides against itself, meaning that helmets require frequent re-adjustment.