I’ve had 5 concussions. The last 3 would’ve been negligible if I’d been wearing a helmet for the first 2. The first one felt like “no biggie”, as most injuries do to a teenager. 40mph into the side of a Volvo? Whatever, stop asking me how my head feels, I just wanna see my scooter. How’s my scooter? And why does this ambulance reek of piss, don’t they ever clean them? Oh. right.
The second crash, same crash (clearly I didn’t learn the first time that people like to turn left in front of motorcycles, especially vintage scooters that couldn’t possibly be going that fast.) But this time it was a pickup truck and well, an actual skull fracture ensued. 6ish hours later, I came to in the hospital being asked the usual questions. I managed to answer them correctly, but they still kept me there for a few days just in case my brain started swelling. You don’t really want to waste time schlepping back to the hospital to have your skull sawed open to let your brain expand. Spent the next couple months back at the ‘rents, took a semester off from school and gradually recovered. Sorta. I still transpose letters and can’t remember numbers for shit.
Because concussions are cumulative, the next 3 knocked me out even though I was wearing the best motorcycle helmet money could buy. I did a lot to help the recovery process, mainly using my brain, as that’s a good way to get it back in shape. Still, I have problems, but have worked around them for the most part. I don’t just forget names, I forget faces. Which is why facebook has been a great tool for my social life. Instead of introducing myself to someone I’ve met 50 times I can mention something they posted. I always remember stories.
Since I started cycling, I’ve been suspicious of the dainty little half-helmets we wear. Yes, I don’t want to look like a total freak and wear my motorcycle helmet on my bicycle, but I also don’t want to plow into the side of a car at 40mph without the maximum protection available. I regularly reach 40mph on my bicycle, according to the GPS app on my phone.
So this is EXACTLY the information I’ve been looking for, thanks to a link from Nutcase Helmets.
“If you have the misfortune to impact head first against a bridge abutment at the bottom of a screaming 55 mph downhill, your helmet will not prevent a head injury.”
They go on to hypothesize that your body will be mush, but I know this isn’t true. I’ve face-planted sides of cars at ~40mph. My body was fine but my head sure could’ve used a helmet. So yeah. I guess I’ll just have to sweat it out in my motorcycle helmet if I wanna ride my bicycle the way I like to ride. The thing is, LA pavement is so treacherous that it doesn’t even take a car to make you high-side a bicycle at 40mph. All it takes is a sharp pothole on a fast hill and boom! you’re Superman, flying through the air hoping to land on the soft bits. Right?
I’d love to hear responses/stories from cyclists, EMT’s and emergency room workers about high-speed crashes involving cyclists wearing good, properly fitted bicycle helmets.