Most of you know I was in a pretty bad bike crash this weekend. I have to say that I was incredibly lucky to not have any broken bones or serious injuries (and my bike is still in one piece, too). But this story would have been entirely different if I weren’t wearing a helmet and sunglasses.
I was riding in a popular area in Virginia and the road is built up with a two inch lip. I came around a turn too sharp and caught the edge of the road, sending my bike into the dirt and me onto the pavement. The left side of my face took most of the impact. I know my head hit from the marks along the front edge of my helmet. As much of a freak accident as this was, I can’t begin to imagine what would have happened if I didn’t wear a helmet. I likely would have had a concussion, broken my nose, even scrapped my eye. My sunglasses were scratched pretty badly and impacted my face, but I would rather have bruises for a few days then to have lost my vision.
In 2009, 630 bicyclists died on US roads and 51,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic. According to a Gallup pole in 2008, half of bicyclists wear a helmet for at least some trips with 35% using them for all or most trips. Yet head injuries account for 60% of all cycling accidents. It scares me to see so many people out on bikes without helmets, especially in urban areas where people are forced to ride on roads. Helmets reduce traumatic brain injury by 88% when properly fitted. There really is no excuse not to wear one.
If your a bit squeamish you might not want to scroll down…
Doesn’t everyone take pictures of themselves while they hang out in Trauma?
I don’t want these pictures to scare anyone away from cycling. It is an incredible sport that has challenged me both mentally and physically in ways that I will never experience while running. But it does have dangers and crashes are very real events. When I first bought my bike, I was told “you will crash one day” and I rode in so much fear. It was hard to enjoy what I was doing while worrying about shifting gears and thinking that I might fall. But for many rides I didn’t fall and I taught myself to how ride. And if you ride smart (with helmet, gloves and friend) you too can walk away from crashes with only minor injuries.
Plus you’ll get great battle wounds. After all, scars make us stronger.