Here’s my two cents on the helmet thing:
I like my head.
Here’s my four cents:
One of my good friends this weekend shattered a helmet while mountain biking
on Manzanita Trail http://shay.ecn.purdue.edu/~bymaster/muni/stagecoach.html,
which has been a part of the California Muni Weekend Trails. He hit so hard,
was knocked out, and doesn’t have the foggiest clue what happened. We would
have lost a good friend if he hadn’t had the noodle shell on. He ended up
losing a few minutes memory, losing half his face, and kindly receiving 23
stitches. Not all that bad.
But it wasn’t a bike, and you can’t go as fast on a uni as you can a bike.
A unique aspect of a uni is that when you unexpectedly hit a bump, you are
thrown forward, transferring all of your momentum into sending you
horizontally forward. I have safely clocked myself at 15mph on a 26" uni while
riding down Stagecoach (which, by the way, is part of Manzanita Trail). Lets
say that you get out of control while riding down a hill. You could pretty
easily hit 17, or 18mph (even on a 24"). Then lets say you hit a big bump, and
you are thrusted forward, or maybe the trail takes a quick turn (like a
switchback on a steep trail). It would be easy to imagine a full face-forward
impact onto a non-mobile object (such as a tree) at 17mph. That would easily
be enough to kill you, especially if the object you hit was sharp. I’ve
literally gotten thrown of the edge of a cliff but fortunately got stuck in a
tree on the way down. I was glad I was wearing a helmet!
So what about road riding? There aren’t any trees, so why wear a helmet?
Anyone who has done serious road riding knows cars are more dangerous than
trees. Trees are more intelligent than the average American driver. You wear a
helmet so that if you are struck by a car and flung into something head first,
you have some protection.
Conclusion: Buy a decent helmet, make sure it fits, wear it. When you don’t need
it, wear it anyway to get into the habit. Remember that nerves don’t grow
back–once you bang’em, they’re gone forever.
Wearing a helmet at my workstation–Safety first, Brett Bymaster