April is helmet awareness month, part 1

by on April 12, 2009
in Commentary

April is Helmet Awareness month, so this month I want you to take a moment to become aware of your helmet. You know, that piece of equipment that you sometimes leave at home? I’ll actually do three separate posts regarding helmets.  Future topics will cover proper fitment and care, and the ubiquitous “helmet law” debate.

First, though, I want to take a moment to advocate – not for helmet laws, but simply for wearing a helmet voluntarily.

Look, I would love to ride without one. They look stupid. They prevent me from experiencing that “wind in my hair” feeling that so many bikers speak of. They make me look stupid even after wearing one (okay, especially after wearing one).

But here’s the thing: I wear a helmet because I have direct personal experience with their benefits. In 1978 when I was allowed to buy a Honda Express on the parentally-imposed condition that I always wear a helmet, I dumped said Honda Express going around a curve in a pile of sand and whacked my head on the curb. I understood immediately the value of wearing the helmet, and I happily wore it forever-after.

Fast forward 30 years, and I’ve come to realize something: “the wind in my hair” only makes my hair a tangled, unbrushable rat’s nest and makes me feel utterly unprotected. I don’t kid myself: a helmet won’t prevent the full-body trauma that is the true killer in 63 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents. But it just might absorb enough impact to keep my brain from sloshing around if something were to happen at a slower speed.

So I wear one. A distinctive one, in fact, which makes me more visible, more findable, more memorable. I encourage you to wear one too. At least we can look stupid together!

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7 Responses to “April is helmet awareness month, part 1”
  1. Thumper says:

    Oddly enough it was a Honda Express that convinced me a helmet was a good idea, too. Or rather me hitting my head on a car bumper when a lady in the car in front of me inexplicable decided to back up, knocking me off my little orange Express. I got laughed at a lot for wearing that helmet on a moped, but without it… who knows.

    Now it’s full face, all the time. I embraced that fully when I locked up the brakes on an SV650 and chin surfed the asphalt. I love my helmets :)

  2. Janet says:

    Wow, TWO dramatic stories – so glad the helmet protected you in both cases. I currently wear a half-helmet, previously wore a 3/4, and have my eye on my next one which is again a 3/4. I sure see what you mean about the full-face variety, though – ultimate protection, I would say. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Shjirley says:

    Oh but you at least look stupid in a cute sort-of way – I have tried dozens and dozens and not only do they not feel good I just plain look stupid in a stupid sort-of way!

  4. BikerChick says:

    I have my eye on a new one that’s even MORE distinctive than the pink half-lid I wear now. (If I’m going to look stupid, I’m going to OWN IT! LOL) I’m not sure you will want to ride with me anymore when you see it, but one thing’s for sure – you won’t lose sight of me!

  5. Hilary says:

    I’ve never really heard people argue against wearing a helmet over here (Europe)… but noticed lately more Americans arguing for the right to choose…

    After looking at both my helmet AND jacket after riding, and all the bug bodies, I really wonder WHY anyone would not want to wear a helmet!

    Also, I think the argument is not over here in Europe because of our free health care system…

  6. Shirley says:

    Hey, do you really think a stupid helmet would be enough to stop me from riding with you?! I really do look and try on all the time and just told G. that we are probably stupid not to wear a helmet at least on the interstate to Sturgis. Have to see…

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