No More Accidents
Bike helmet safety is a big problem in our society. People do not realize that a bike helmet to a biker is the same as a seat belt to a motorist. We as bikers need all the protection that we can get since we dont have the tank-like protection of a 88 Ford Tempo. So now I am going to tell you a story of a personal experience, the basics to a helmet and some statistics
Even though bike helmets are designed to lessen the impact in one particular spot and disperse the force throughout the helmet. The helmet however is not the most safest thing to but in our society. Most manufactures today tend to make helmets that have a lot of holes and are made for fashion instead of for being a good helmet. The plastic coating on most helmets is there to prevent less friction when you are sliding down on your head. The air holes on the helmet provide better air flow and a fresh new style but they lessen the fact of the force upon impact will have less of a space to disperse the force into. Do not get me wrong all the bicycle helmets on the market pass at least the minimum of the standard. In Austrailia the market had to lower the standard of their helmets because they were soo expensive, so that people would buy their helmets.
Being in a bike accident is a very tramatizing thing to go through. I went through several accidents, but one accident in particular knocked some sense into me about helmet safety.
One summer morning I woke up like every other day. I did all the normal things one would do in the morning like taking a shower, eating breakfast and getting dressed. After I got myself all set up to go out for the day, I called up one of my friends to go do something. It was another one of San Franciscos beautiful weather days so we decided to go bicycle riding and to play some basketball. So, then I start to head out of my house to get my bicycle ready for departure about 10am.
Now I am on my way to my friends house. The first half of my ride was pretty basic, all it was just a nice cruise down hill. The second part however was not so much difficult as I just had to keep my eyes on the path. I was going on some off road bike trails through the Lake Merced area. I was having a good time except when I hit the home stretch. I was hitting a turn going about 15 MPH when all of a sudden I blacked out.
I wake up to see everything, people, the sky, and the ground, in a blood reddish tint. At that point I knew something bad had happened even thought I was feeling fine. I dont remember getting up, just stumbling around like I just learned to walk. I notice that everyone is starring at me like I was crazy. I see the friend that I was going to meet standing in the crowd holding my bike. I asked him if my bike was all right and he replied by saying that I have worse things to worry about. At that point I turned around and noticed that the fire fighters came and were leading me over to their truck. They started to clean up my face. I was asking for a mirror so I could get some idea of what condition that I was in. When I brought the mirror up to my face I was completely horrified of the condition that I was in. The complete right hand side of my face looked like someone had taken a cheese grater to my face. My face was completely covered in blood, mangled facial tissue, dirt and pebbles. When I saw this I dropped the mirror on the ground. Looking at the mirror on the ground I could see that the rest of my body was in the same condition as my face. I personally dont think that it was a good idea to give someone a mirror that looked as bad as I did.
Finally the Ambulance came. I dont remember much about the ambulance ride except that it was cold and that the medics were nice. Once I got to the hospital they took some x-rays of me to make sure that there was no broken bones or internal bleeding. That x-ray room was very cold! After that they put me into a room where my parents were, so they could comfort me before surgery. Apparently I had a rock embedded in my forehead.
Given my current status I was unable to walk so I had to miss about one week of school. This was a good thing especially since it was only the second week of class. Fortunately, my mother was able to get all of my homework for the week. I was unhappy to go back to school, however I was able to show off my battle wounds.
I was talking to a friend several years after this happened. He said that he saw the whole thing. He said that some passing motorists were kind enough to be throwing stuff out their window and apparently one of those objects hit me in the head. Which means that if I was wearing my helmet this whole incident could have been avoided.
The one thing that I did learn from all this was to always where my helmet, which I still do practice. Especially since now there is a law in California that now states that people must wear bicycle Helmets. The First year that this law was put into effect more people started wearing helmets, there was an increase of about 30%. This still means that about 50% of people never wear helmets. Today there are an estimated 80.6 million riders, 43 percent of whom never wear helmets and 7 percent of whom wear helmets less than half the time. For instance 69 percent of children under 16 wear a helmet on a regular basis while riding a bike, according to parents. While 38 percent of adult bike riders regularly wear their helmets. Of bikers who now report wearing a helmet, 98 percent said they wore a helmet for safety reasons, 70 percent said they wore a helmet because a parent or spouse insisted on it and 44 percent said they did so because a law required it.
The main age groups for people that got into accidents in the early 1990s wre ages 10-18
Because of the new law more parents started to make their kids wear helmets not only for safety but also for a ticket. The Law just needs to have a little less enforcement and more education, because just like Jay-Walking police have more important concerns than people wearing bicycle helmets. So I hope now that this little bit of information will help you all to make good decisions when it comes to safety.
The bulk of my technical information came off the web, Bike Helmet Saftey Words
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