Fast forward 19 years to the year 2000. Over the yearsI had experienced a couple of spills on the bike when my tires slipped on sand resulting in skinned knees but.I had never had a serious accident. By now my helmet was yellowing with age. I was riding a couple of miles from my house on another new bike. My friend at the bike store had told me that the front brakes were so strong that they could “throw you over the handlebars.”
Riding at a leisurely pace, I briefly had taken one hand off the handlebars. I saw a large crack in the pavement ahead and reached for the handlebar to steady myself. By mistake I grabbed the front brake lever, which instantly stopped the front wheel, and over the handlebars I went.
I effectively fell from a height of seven feet at a speed of ten or twelve miles an hour, hitting the pavement head first, then bouncing a couple of times. I was stunned and in a lot of pain. My head and face hurt the most. I was amazed to find that I still had all my teeth. I had road burns on my shoulder and side, and I had bent the aluminum handlebars so badly that the bike could not be ridden.
I have no lasting injuries from the accident, but I believe the helmet saved my life. The front and sides of the helmet were severely gouged, showing where my head hit the pavement. Where the helmet pressed on my temple I had a long bruise that didn't go away for more than a year. I still have a bump in the center of my forehead that my receding hairline has fortunately not yet revealed. I rode the same bike until last year, when another one caught my eye. Bike helmets should always be replaced after an accident, so I’m sporting another white Bell helmet. You can buy a helmet these days for around $20.
The point is that I wore a helmet for 19 years before I needed it. This narrative may have been a little graphic for some of you, but if you ride a bike, or you love someone who does, I know a good way to spend $20. Buy a helmet today and wear it, or make sure those who look to you for guidance wear theirs every time.
Take care of yourselves.