Now, some of you may believe that you have legitimate reasons for not wearing a helmet but in short...you are wrong. There is no good reason. Ever. How long you've been riding or how good a bike handler you are is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter. The times you need a helmet are the times when there is not a damn thing you can do to save yourself. Period. If you think you are invincible and can avoid any potential hazards...once again...you are either highly ignorant of human physiology and physics or so vain that you are willing to blatantly disregard your own personal safety in an effort to look cool and have the wind in your hair. Not to mention the needless suffering and anguish you will inflict on your loved ones should something happen to you that could have been easily prevented. But hey...you look like a real live Euro pro so it's worth it right?
Hopefully I don't have to explain all of the physics and physiology of what happens to your brain and skull composition when you crack your head on the pavement or dirt but in short...it's not real good for you. Even if you are an intelligent, aware human being and have a helmet on, it's not good. In fact, it's actually probably more damaging than we even realize. For example, new studies on NFL players and the effects of post-concussion syndrome and skull trauma on the pituitary gland are shocking and show serious hormonal and psychological problems for many players. Even though most cyclists are already suffering from some psychological issues (why else would we do this) it would follow that a few cracks to the melon (something virtually all racers have experienced) could do some serious damage. Why risk making something that is already inherently dangerous even more so?
I always find myself getting riled up about helmets around this time of year when team camp photos are being plastered everywhere and nearly every pro is shown cruising around without a helmet. What gives? It would be one thing if it were just a publicity and visibility issue but that's not the case. Granted, I am not a professional cyclist but I have raced for a long time and never understood the concept of training without a helmet when you are forced to wear one in competition. It just doesn't make sense.
And what about the helmet sponsors? Doesn't Giro or Bell or whoever care that these pre-season publicity rides rarely have their products displayed? These companies must be aware that their sponsorship dollars are being minimized by the fact that the riders they support would rather show off their latest skullcap or hairdo instead of a pro-quality helmet that is likely responsible for saving thousands and thousands of lives. The large helmet companies need to put their foot down and demand that all publicity shots be taken with helmets on. I mean, why not? Otherwise they are not getting proper value for their investment and diminishing the importance of their product. I've always been surprised that it is not a bigger issue for sponsors.
Okay...roughly translated from Canadian, I take that to mean: "We are boldy foolish and choose not to be intelligent, responsible people. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot legislate intelligence. Because even though we won't take minimal steps to ensure our own safety and well-being, we sure as hell will fight those who attempt to force us out of our questionable decision making."
Sadly, I totally agree with them, but really only as it pertains to choice. The old joke when motorcycle helmet laws were being formed was something to the effect of: "A brain so feeble that it does not seek protection is hardly worth saving." Self preservation is likely the most critical of the basic human instincts and those that lack this intellectual component will probably not be missed too much by society as a whole. But someone will miss them...or at least have to help feed them for the rest of their lives.
I can safely say that I would not be alive today if I didn't wear a helmet. At least that's what the doctors told me. I don't really remember anything about the accident. Or the days before and after it. The lady in the car said she never saw me and I'm guessing there probably wasn't a whole lot I could have done about it even if I saw her. Which I'm guessing I did right before my face and forehead dented the hood of her car beyond repair. Again...just guessing here but I think I probably saw her. The scary truth is that the times you need a helmet are the times when you can't do anything to save yourself.