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.
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.
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!