Duo enjoying life – photo by EcoBicycle via RateMyVelo.com
Dear Bicycle Helmet
I know it has been a very long time since we went on a ride together. It may sound cruel, but I honestly don’t miss you at all.
I never liked how you messed up my hair on my way to work.
It’s bad enough that the media labeled me a “helmet head”. The last thing I need is for my work colleagues to make fun of my “helmet hair” too.
Going in to work without a sweaty head in the summer is most liberating. And not needing to take a shower at work has made bicycling the most convenient, efficient and reliable mode of transportation for me.
I no longer need to carry a spare change of clothes with me and I no longer need to look like the “crazy office cyclist”. People look at me now as simply another person; one who happens to use a bicycle to get to work in the same clothes as I would use if I took transit or drove a car to work.
I know you always had good intentions, but sometimes when I wore you I felt invincible and rode on roads I probably shouldn’t have been riding on and took chances that I probably shouldn’t have taken.
Not wearing you makes me a more cautious and relaxed cyclist.
It’s not your fault that companies make you sound more important than you really are. They just want to make a quick buck, and fear is the easiest way for them to sell you.
They say that not wearing you is akin to suicide, even though you and I both know that you were only designed for low-speed falls, not for protection from cars. You are only made of foam and thin plastic after all, unlike your sturdy cousin, the motorcycle helmet.
I know people have said that you reduce head injuries by 80%, but you and I both know that this number is based on a faulty study and the safest countries in the world to ride a bicycle are the ones where virtually nobody wears a helmet.
In fact, we now know that a bicyclist in Canada is no more likely to get a head injury than someone inside a car, and I don’t hear anyone telling car drivers they should wear helmets.
I know you have tried hard to tell your diehard supporters that true safety starts with prevention rather than a reactive band-aid solution like yourself.
After all, you would rather live a long happy life rather than being cracked or shattered in a collision.
But these preventative measures have fallen on deaf ears. They won’t have any of it. But you know in your heart that this is how true bicycle safety is achieved.
If you happen to end up on another cyclist’s head, I will still be happy that they are out there riding. After all, the more of us there are out there, the safer it will be for all of us.
But if you cause a person to decide against riding their bicycle, adding another barrier to an already long list, then I won’t be happy about it.
I don’t plan to ever wear you again, but I still appreciate our time together because you helped me realize that there is more to bicycle safety than yourself.