Monday, October 15, 2012

Helmets -wear or not wear

Ok so anyone who is a Facebook buddy/acquaintance will look at the title and say what?  I seem to like to have epic crashes/accidents on my bike on Thanksgiving Weekends.

You will recall when me and Shazam rode the hood of a Jeep in October 4, 2008 - I came out fairly unscathed a lot of soft tissue in my hips/legs and behind/lower back and a brand new bike - Isis. 

Well on Oct 5, 2012 on my ride to work I suddenly found myself bouncing my head and backside off the pavement at about 30km/hour.  I came out a little worse for wear on this one.  After I landed and thought holy sh*t that hurt!  I realized nothing was broken gathered my front fender up and continued to the bus loop - oh be quiet - at this point I thought I would have a nasty bruise on my back and well sure my head was a little sore but I had on my helmet so off I went.

When I got to the bus I loaded the bike up thinking crap I am really hurting and wondering if my phone had survived me landing on it when the bus driver said - are you ok you are bleeding - hmmm.  So I put my hand to the back of my neck and sure enough it came back all bloody.  Shoot that can't be good.

She offered to call an ambulance - I thought it over and decided no.  Recalling the last time and the gong show that ensued - while having a SO that is a paramedic is great it can also be not so great when he hears over dispatch that you are the patient.  And for those who know me - I don't like to be fussed over - I am uncomfortable with it, really uncomfortable with it.  So thinking about that, realizing I had a bike to deal with, I was already on the bus heading to work - which ironically is in a hospital , knowing that I would probably arrived there in the same time as if I just stayed on the bus - I decided stay on the bus.  I did not feel too bad just sore and decided if I keep the helmet and beanie cap on it will stench the flow of blood.  I opted for the bus ride.  Don't worry I called Joe - I am not that foolish - honestly the blood thing was freaking me out a bit.

Working in a hospital has some privileges- like to the front of the line when you walk through the back door the urgent care department bleeding from a head wound.  When I left I had 4 pretty blue stictches in my 2 inch gouge in my head, a wrapped left hand for my sprained thumb, a pretty awesome concussion, xrays of my pelvis, hand and SI joints - no breaks.  My helmet was toast. 

I can honestly say this - if I had not been wearing my helmet I would probably be in ICU right now as we speak if I had made it there....  Back to the question helmets - yes or no.  There is a lot of research out there on both sides of the fence.

Personally for me I always wear a helmet now - but it was not always that way.  It has only been in the last 10 years that I have started wearing one prior to that you would not have caught me dead in one.  As a kid we mocked kids that wore helmets.   However I am a different type of rider now - I race, I go for speed and I ride on the roads now.  Before I rode on sidewalks and I "latte" rode.

The arguments for and against helmets are compelling - there are several articles that have  shown that in countries where there are amount of cyclists wearing helmets - there are a high amount of head injuries and vice versa.  Here is a link to a blog that really, I think lays out some valid points regarding helmets and safety - http://bicyclesafe.com/helmets.html.    I would encourage everyone to read it. 

Wearing a helmet does not guarantee you will not get injured or have an injury - it MAY help reduce the severity of it.  You need to be a smart cyclist and savvy.  You need to have good bike handling skills - mine are pretty good but could be a lot better.  

Now before you all start ranting at me - I just wanted to highlight other things to think about - I believe in helmets and I will not ride without one but I can't force others to do it and I think it is just as important to have proper bike handling skills and well some common sense -lastly you can not control the universe there are no guarantees.

How did this happen - honestly I don't know.  I was riding along like I do every day on a road I ride every day, I went to change my gears and the next thing I was on the road.  I was on the new-to-me mountain bike - Niart.  We think either my chain jammed or my front brakes seized as there was stuff caught in my brakes - (i had not noticed it earlier).  The bike is in the shop to check it over - I will admit to not getting it checked out before riding it.  Even though I had been riding it for a month - my bad - no excuse- I know better. Thankfully I was on the road by myself with no traffic around or it could have been worse.

So there you have it - for me I will continue to wear my new, very expensive helmet whenever I go out on my bike.  I am convinced to saved me - I will also work on my riding skills and regularly take  ALL my bikes in for tune-ups.  (Isis - my road bike goes in every 4 months). And next year for Thankgiving I think I will pass on the bike riding.

Oh and my I-Phone - totally fine - not a mark on it - the otter case did the job but left a lovely IPHONE shaped bruise on my tailbone.  

Peace out Shaun



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