Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Put that helmet on!

Over coffee this morning, a friend excused himself for not wearing a helmet. "I do on my motorcycle," he explained. Another friend quietly replied, "I wouldn't be here, but for my helmet."

Then friend No. 2 explained: Riding home to Coral Gables one day at 7 p.m., he approached an intersection. Street lights were on, my friend's bike was all lit up, the car down the block seemed to be slowing. He started across and the car accelerated. Rider swerved hard, but the car still hit him -- on the head. Ruined helmet, no harm to head.

Second story: Riding hard on the M-Path, he comes around a turn and piles into a rider who had stopped in the path next to a pillar. Their heads collide and both men sprawl on the ground. My friend is fine; the other guy -- with no helmet -- is unconscious. He wakes up, but has a concussion.

Ready to take the helmet pledge now? No? You need to read medical writer Jane Brody's piece from today's New York Times. (Registration required.) A key graf:
Thanks to the proliferation of designated bike paths and the growing use of helmets, deaths among bicyclists have declined to around 600 a year from about 800. Still, 600 is 600 too many, as are the approximately 46,000 annual injuries that cyclists suffer in crashes with motor vehicles.

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