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I was driving home from work last week and found four bicyclists down on the side of the road. One of the riders had moved over to avoid a car and that was enough to create a chain reaction with his fellow riders.  Of the four riders, only two were wearing helmets.  One of the riders had a fairly bad gash on the side of his head.  An ambulance took the two without helmets off to the hospital.

After witnessing the aftermath of that car-bicycle interaction, I traded in my ten year old bicycle helmet and purchased a new Bern helmet.  During a recent trip to New York City, I saw many bicycle riders wearing these helmets.  Bern helmets are low profile and fit better than any other helmet I have tried.  This new helmet covers more of my head, yet it feels well ventilated and cool.  I do have the advantage of not being insulated by hair.

Helmetless bike riders tell me they are “extra careful” and that they “stay off busy roads”.  They are making a major mistake.  The problem is not the bike rider.  The problem is the car driver.  People driving cars are not looking for bicyclists.  They are on autopilot–listening to the radio, talking on the phone, and texting.  Most of us never see something unless we are actively looking for it.  Watch this video and assess your level of awareness.bike_car

As a physical therapist, I get to work with individuals who have suffered closed head injuries.  Nothing creates a more sudden and long lasting change in your world like an impact to your cranium.  It does not take that much in the way of force to permanently alter the way you move, think, react to stress, and generally function during the day.  Falling off a bicycle can create more than enough force to scramble your neurons for the rest of your life.  If in the past you did not use a helmet because of the appearance, I urge you to look at a Bern and some of the new low profile helmets.  Buy your kids a good helmet and make them wear it whenever they get on their bikes.  Be a good example and use a helmet whenever you ride.

To test your awareness, click on the link below:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahg6qcgoay4

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