Your Spring PSA

If you only read one post on Savvy Eats this week, make it be this one.

You may already know this story. Even if you do, it is worth another read.

With spring comes warmer weather, bringing us outside on our bikes. Whether you ride around town to run errands, ride for fun with friends, or are a serious cyclist, there is one thing you absolutely must do.

And that is: wear a helmet.


Here’s why:

When I was in the fourth grade, I was at my friend’s birthday party when her mom pulled me aside. She looked very serious, and I was afraid I was in trouble for something. As I racked my brain trying to think of what I could have possibly done wrong, she sat me down. “There’s been an accident,” she said.

That morning, my dad had been cycling in the country with a friend when a car of teenagers tried to force his friend off the road. When they were unsuccessful, they instead fishtailed into my dad as he rode downhill, causing him to go flying. These were pre-cell phone days, so his friend frantically rode to the nearest house to call for help.

Once he got to the hospital, my dad found out he had broken six ribs and his collarbone, punctured a lung and got road rash all over his arms and legs. And his helmet shattered into about a dozen pieces.

It could have been much worse. The doctors told my parents that his helmet saved my dad’s life. If he hadn’t been wearing one, I would have lost my father when I was only 10 years old.

Ever since then, our entire family has been huge helmet activists. Which is why I am begging you all to get a helmet and wear it whenever you are out on your bike.

Because even if you are being safe, that doesn’t mean the cyclists and drivers around you are. My dad was doing everything right in terms of safety, but that didn’t stop the driving teenagers from hitting him on purpose.


Helmet rules:

1. Riding with your helmet clipped to your handlebars doesn’t count as using your helmet.

2. Nor does riding with it unfastened. That’s not going to protect you if you fall.

3. Replace your helmet after every crash or fall that involves hitting your head. I bumped my head when the chain fell off my bike in Italy, so I replaced my helmet when we got home.

4. Replace your helmet after 5 years or so. The jury is out on how many years a helmet is “good” for, but the padding tends to dry out over time, making it more prone to cracking.

Be safe and have fun, friends!



  1. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this post!

    You are so right that helmets save lives. Everyone in my family bikes and each one of us has been saved by our helmets. My dad’s helmet even had a HUGE dent in it when he crashed. Obviously it would have been his skull if he hadn’t been wearing it.

    We had a friend in England who wasn’t wearing a helmet and ended up in ICU for months after a crash with a car door. He lived but ended up with amnesia and could no longer work as a lawyer!

    Great PSA!

  2. says

    Amen! I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s accident, but glad that he ended up okay. Scary stuff. I had a little bike scrape two years ago when I absent-mindedly hit my front brakes too hard, went over the handlebars, and hit the ground face-first. I was probably going all of 7 mph at the time, but I still manage to split my chin and upper lip open. Even though my head never actually hit the ground, I was amazed by the damage that could be done at such a slow speed and now I never get on my bike without a helmet, ever.

  3. says

    so true about helmets girl- so sad to hear about your dad but glad that he’s okay!! xo have a wonderful tuesday!

  4. says

    A very important PSA indeed! I’m glad your dad had a helmet on. I really need to buy a new one, especially now that bike season is almost here. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. says

    I’m so glad your dad had his helmet on and is okay. I hope those teenagers were severely disciplined- I can’t believe that they did that. Awful.

    Whenever I see someone riding a bike without a helmet, I want to yell at them from my car! My latest cause is my grandmother. She doesn’t think she needs a helmet to ride around her neighborhood. Ughhh.

  6. says

    Thanks for the PSA Julie! I know all too well the importance of wearing a helmet. I like what you said about protecting yourself from others. Even if you are the safest cyclist in the world you can not control how other people around you will act. I don’t get in cars without buckling my seat belt and I don’t ride my bike without wearing a helmet.

  7. says

    THANK YOU! I’m a nutty pro helmet activist too, for obvious reasons. Living in a busy city, it blows my mind how many people do not wear helmets weaving in and out of cars. And I HATE when I see parents riding with kids, and the parents dont wear helmets. What a bad example! I could go on and on, but thank you for posting this.

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      If you need more convincing, read Kelly’s post too… I linked to it earlier in the comments section!

  8. Marisa says

    I carry my helmet to all my classes (I bike through all of campus for my classes). I am always so proud to wear it and carry it around because I remember what happened to Dad.

    PS I am very excited to have lunch with you next week!!

  9. Rebecca says

    This is so important. I was a kid who never wanted to wear my helmet, but in december my dad got hit by a car while running. He was thinking about getting a running helmet frequently before that, but sadly he hadn’t. He broke part of his skull and needed 5 layers of stitching plus more bruises and scars elsewhere. Now, he runs with a helmet on. Needless to say it looks quite funny and out of place, it may help him in the future. Sorry about your dad!

  10. says

    I totally agree! My little cousin’s best friend was in an accident that left him brain damaged, but still functioning, and even my cousin doesn’t wear a helmet! I can’t believe it. I harass him constantly over it. 😛

  11. says

    I am so glad that your dad survived that… it sounds very scary! I’ve been reading a lot about bike accidents lately, so I’m super paranoid on my bike and never go without my helmet (just like I nag everyone to use sunscreen). Part of being a responsible athlete is taking care of yourself!

  12. says

    Good post and thanks for spreading the word! I know several people whose lives have been saved by helmets, and this also applies to mountain biking, rail trail riding,screwing around in the driveway/backyard, etc. I would never think of getting on a bike without first putting on a helmet.

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Yes! The only exception I make is when I’m in my living room on the trainer… 😉

  13. says

    That is so scary, but I am so glad that your dad survived, though it sounds like a really bad accident. My boss got doored on his bike two summers ago and wound up with very similar injuries – was out of the office for 6 weeks and required 3 surgeries. But no head injury because he was wearing a helmet!

  14. Katherine says

    Thanks for this post!! I used to work in a bike shop, and the helmet was often the most difficult sale to make. You wouldn’t believe how many people thought we were just trying to make an extra buck by “forcing” a helmet on them. I’ve given a fair share of “brain bucket” lectures on the trail side, too 😉

  15. says

    I don’t currently have a helmet but looking to get an new bike so I’ll make sure I do then. I’ve been ridding more lately trying to stay healthy but that wont do me much good if I get ran over in the process. Thanks for your story and thankfully your dad was a smart cookie. Back when there were no cell phones there were also not many people sporting helmets for safety.

  16. says

    AMEN! I hate seeing cyclists who clip their helmets on the handlebar. I mean, why even bother bringing it if you’re not going to wear it. Silly. Bike safety is so important. I’m glad your dad’s helmet saved his life!

  17. says

    Wow thank goodness your Dad was ok! That is such an amazing story. I hope those teenagers learned their lesson! I am definitely guilty of not wearing my helmet and I’m embarrassed to admit this but it’s due to vanity, which is so stupid! Hearing stories like this though really affect me and I promise you that I will buy a helmet before I sit my booty on my bike this Spring! Thank you for sharing your story

  18. says

    A great reminder to us all about the necessity of wearing helmets on bikes. As you say it doesn’t matter how safely you may be riding, it is about what the other person is doing.

    I’m not a cyclist but I always apply this reasoning to driving on the road.

  19. says

    Oh Julie, thank you so much for showcasing the importance of wearing a helmet!! I am so sorry your family had to go through a terrible experience way back when, but I am also so thankful that your dad turned out to be okay!! Thanks for all of the tips, too 🙂


  1. […] Money-saving tip #3: If you can bike or walk, do it. Ever since I bought a road bike, I’ve been biking EVERYWHERE. I’m going to start biking to work when classes end and I have more time to commute. Biking or walking may take a little more time, but they really cut back on gas used for those short trips to the store and school. If you’re a Longhorn without a bike, check out UT’s Orange Bike Project to rent one. Just be sure to hydrate and wear a helmet! […]