I’ve wanted to write something for awhile now, but have had a hard time on where to start. I wanted to convey my true feeling about them, but didn’t want to sound like I was preaching to anyone. Working at a bike shop, I’m often asked by parents if I wear a helmet when I ride and I try and give an honest answer: “sometimes”. Helmets are some times uncomfortable, can get sweaty or hot, and for kids not as stylish as the current trends of wearing a beanie or hat.
Obviously BMX has it’s risks and the possibility of getting hurt is always there, but that comes with the activity. Plenty of contact sports require helmets. Unlike football or hockey, the object is not to crash into something, not tackle or body check someone. We all crash, it’s just going to happen as part of a rider’s learning curve, but the hope is that you don’t hit your head.
A head injury is nothing to mess around with and can leave permanent damage to someone. Over the past few years BMX has seen it’s best riders suffer head injuries and for some of them dramatically change their lives. The most extreme situation that everyone in BMX knows about is the recent Mike Aitken incident. Few people realize that legends like Mat Hoffman, Ron Wilkerson and some of the best current riders at the top of their game have also suffered head injuries over the past few years. Van Homan, Toby Forte, Matt Beringer, Gary Young, and Nicki Croft have all hit their head and suffered from either concussions or in Gary Young’s case a cracked skull. Nicki Croft was wearing a helmet and admitted that it had saved his life.
All of these guys are much more talented than you or I, which shows that no one is untouchable from having an accident. Crashed are going to happen, that risk is just part of what we do. A $30 helmet could save someone from thousands of dollars in medical bills, serious health problems or even worse death. I don’t wanna sound like your mother preaching to you to put your helmet on, or a hypocrite because a lot of the time I don’t wear my own. Just keep this in mind: safety is something to take into consideration when hoping on your bike.
Justin H. Gamache