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December 30, 2020

WEAR A HELMET, SAVE A LIFE

A long time ago, safety was a bit of an afterthought. I don’t think I ever even owned a bicycle helmet when I was a kid. But then again, I don’t remember our car even having seatbelts back then.

We have come a long way, safety is a priority everywhere now, from work, traffic, even the current COVID restrictions we see in place around us.

And it is for good reason too. Sure, we may feel restricted from time to time versus the way we grew up, but it only takes one slip up to make it worthwhile. I remember in my career witnessing a carless accident that forever changed the victim’s life for the worse.

Without getting into the messy details and maintaining the victim’s privacy, it is suffice to say that he has always quoted since that a moment of irresponsibility is not worth it.

In the city I live in, there is no helmet laws, even for motorcycles. A lot of motorcyclists take advantage of this. They like the wind in their hair and the unbridled sound of the exhaust going straight to their eardrums. We also have a high fatality rate among motorcycle drivers. Each week, I read the paper and another tragic and fatal accident occurred. I always check to see if they were wearing a helmet in the article. I can assure you, among all these fatalities, sadly, the overwhelming majority of them were not.

Well, you may say, that is for motorcycles, a bike is much different. While that may seem like a matter of fact, this blogger thinks that ebikes can be even less safe! Motorcycles are loud and follow the flow of traffic lanes and procedures. They have turn signals, a horn, headlights equal to a car, and some stand out in their large presence or loud colours.

eBikes on the other hand have to use a smaller designated lane. A lane where all the debris gets kicked too, a lane that elusively both maintains and abandons to exist. eBikes don’t make a lot of noise, there is no horn or loud exhaust, and turn signals are a luxury.

The simple fact is, bicyclists are typically ignored more so than motorcyclists. So all the more reason to wear a helmet. Well… there is one more major difference. Motorcyclists are much faster. You may be right on that one, but the majority of the accidents that occur are between speeds of 0mph and 30mph. eBikes are designed specifically to ride in that segment. Also, remember that majority of accidents occur within 5 miles of the home.

On a closing note, I will say I was hit by a car on my bicycle once. The car was making a right turn at the same time as me onto a small street. The speed was low, but enough to knock me off my bike and roll me across his hood until I hit the street. I was only a little scuffed up, but my helmet was significantly cracked. I always go back to that moment and wonder “what if”. So let’s shed our indifference and commit to wearing a helmet.

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