Save your own life

By: proctor - July 26, 2006

There are so many easy ways to save your own life. Wearing a helmet is one of them. Every day actions can be devastating if the correct precautions are not taken. Safety is often so easy, but for some reason, people just don't think "that could happen to me." It all seems like those devastating stories we hear about will only happen to one of the other 6 billion people on earth. After an experience that hit home recently, I was inspired to write this article and share with you what I have learned.

Recently, my sister got into such a bad bike accident that she cracked her helmet upon impact (she was on a bike path that was paved) and was unconscious for some time. She is an experienced rider and was paying attention, but just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. If she hadn't been wearing her helmet, there is no doubt in my mind that the fall would have had disastrous effects. The helmet absorbed the majority of the impact and was left with only a crack instead of her head having to absorb the impact. She had to have a CT scan and multiple x-rays but emerged only sore and scratched instead of broken and with brain damage. She was lucky. There were 720 bicyclists that died in 2005 in accidents involving motor vehicles. Two-thirds of the deaths are from brain injury. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has published some startling statistics, among them that about 600,000 bicyclists suffered an injury severe enough to need treatment in a hospital emergency room in 1994. On average 540,000 cyclists visit hospital emergency rooms each year, and about 67,000 of those have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized. Direct costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year. The statistics continue, unfortunately.

Direct costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year.

Helmets should be worn by everyone who is participating in a sport or hobby that involves the danger of falling: snowboarders, skiiers, skateboarders, climbers, rollerbladers, kayakers...the list goes on. Almost every store or rental location that sells the other equipment needed to participate in your sport will also offer helmets. They cost as little as $10 and up to $100 if you want a very fancy or customized one. This does not even compare to the hundreds of thousands of dollars of hospital bills you will acquire if you suffer from a head injury. And if cost is not what is keeping you from wearing a helmet, remember that brain damage is often irreversible and you could spend the rest of your life being dependent on others to help you do simple tasks like feeding yourself and getting dressed each day.

The most common excuse I have heard for not wearing a helmet is: "It will mess up my hair!" To that, I say, "Think of what brain damage will do to your life." Brain damage is permanent. Messy hair is temporary. Buy a comb, a helmet, and live. If you desire the wind blown look, turn your head upside down and tousle your hair with your fingers, flip it back and you've got the same effect.

See you on the path...WITH your helmet!

About the Submitter


I have been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2000 who has trained over 3000 hours. I specialize in pre- and post-natal fitness, stretching, running, and weight loss. Yoga is also a passion for me and a way of life. I received my Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification in India and love to share the calmness, strength, and openness that yoga offers to people of all ages and abilities.

Public Comments

  • By: ncruden

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 9:06am

    This is the Mom of Proctor, and the sister whose helmet was cracked. I'm sooo glad she was wearing that helmet and the rest of you need to heed Proctor's advice. I'm a nurse and have seen too many injuries from bike wrecks that could have been minimized by wearing helmets and using common sense. That goes for you pedestrians and motorists who doen't watch for bikers and runners.

  • By: sethhoff

    Wednesday, August 9, 2006 - 5:45pm

    thanks Proctor, sent it on to Hector.....Seth

  • By: jEnergy

    Tuesday, August 8, 2006 - 12:43am

    Very true. It's better to have to carry a helmet around part of the day or look "dorky" (if that's what you're worried about) than to end up with a serious injury! Especially in big cities where traffic is crazy!

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