I’m Glad I Was Wearing My Helmet

Cracked Bell Alchera bike helmet after a crash.

Cracked helmet, post-crash.

Out of the blue, the girl jogging on the trail in front of me turned right into my path. There was no time to react. I hit her in a glancing blow, which knocked me off balance. I went down — hard.

My head slammed into the ground. I swear I felt my brain squash against the inside of my skull.

Fortunately my head is still in one piece. I may have a minor concussion, but two days later I’m able to dial a phone number, and to post this article.

I’m sure glad I was wearing my helmet.

The rest of me is not so lucky. First I thought I had broken my hip. Now it seems like just a bad bruise, and a badly pulled groin muscle. I still can’t walk, but I’ll probably be able to in a few days, and be back on my bike in a couple of weeks. (Note: its was almost a month before I could walk without a cane.)

It could have been so much worse — especially without my helmet.

What about the girl I ran into? She was none the worse for wear, and gave me a ride home.

Thanks also to “Cindy,” who stayed to make sure I was OK.

I realize helmets can be a subject of religious war. I happen to agree with people like Mikael Colville-Anderson and Nick Olender, that compulsory helmet laws are bad public policy — even though I wear one myself.

Again, I’m sure glad I was wearing one on Sunday.

See WABA’s page on why cyclists should oppose Maryland’s helmet bill.

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5 comments… add one
  • Glad you’re safe… Thanks for the story.

    Now GO BUY A NEW HELMET! (signed, your mother)

  • Don’t ride a whole lot, but my wife and I made decision to purchase a helmet this weekend. Not going to enter into the yes/no regarding the helmet issue, but have decided that I would rather wear one and have it on when needed than to wish I had worn one after the fact…I ran over a rabbit that darted in front of me and I took a pretty good tumble…did not hit my head, but could have easily when I bounced the bike off of a couple of trees. Thanks for sharing your event, just confirmed my decision to purchase helmets for my wife and I.

  • I was rear-ended in May, by a driver who said he didn’t me in the sun. He turned my rear wheel into an unedible u-shaped taco. I went flying forward and hit my head. I definitely needed a new helmet after that incident. I was in what the local police call the ‘suicide lane’, a dual-turn lane, for both, the north and southbound, traffic.

    How in the blazes do I need to be lit up, to be visible!! I wear a yellow reflective long-sleeve biking jacket. I have a multi-mode rear light set to solid-flash, on the seatpost. I have an additional multi-mode light on my back, and set at the same setting. Some drivers are just morons!!

  • 4 years ago I was hit from behind by an elderly motorist with very poor vision (rumor was that he had glaucoma). He hit me at 45 mph on a straight section of Rte 231 in Madison County. It was around 12:15 PM in the afternoon on Sunday, October 19th 2008. Very few clouds in the sky. Bright and sunny. There is NO way he shouldn’t have been able to see me. But he didn’t. I have no memory of the accident that nearly took my life. I was knocked out and according to the only witness she thought I was killed on impact (the old man had to turn around and come back to see what he’d hit). She stated I was making “a gurgling noise” and not moving and she was unsure if I was breathing. I ended up breaking 3 vertebrae and several ribs. Severe laceration of my right ear that almost tore my ear off. And a mild TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). 4 years later I still have problems with my balance, trouble remembering things, trouble sleeping, and migraines. The doctors at UVA said that if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I would not have survived the collision. It makes no sense to me why someone would choose NOT to wear a helmet. A helmet is not going to save you in every situation, but it’s the easiest (and sometimes only) thing you can do to protect your brain.

  • So glad to hear that you’re safe. Check out the POC helmets and let me know what you think. They’re pretty sweet looking but probably crazy hot.

    I agree that it’s important to distinguish between personal choice and legal mandate. I personally see the value in wearing a helmet. At the same time, I see the value in encouraging urban / college ridership with bike share programs, which don’t have an easy helmet solution for the casual bike share rider.

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