Why It’s Deadly, Not ‘Cool,’ To Refuse To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet


Posted on 17th April 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Why don’t some motorcyclists wear helmets?

 How can you expose yourself in an open vehicle — traveling at high speeds — and not worry about the damage you would sustain if you were propelled like a missile and hit your head?

 Is it the “cool” factor, the macho factor, that makes people shun helmets?

 Jayne Zabrowski, my talented and indispensable paralegal, got a little first-hand insight into the helmet issue recently, on the banks of Lake Michigan.

 Here’s her story in her own words:

 I met a guy walking his dog on the beach yesterday. We started talking about things and motorcycles came up.  I asked if he wore a helmet when he rode.  

 He said, “No.”  

 I asked, “Why not?”

 His response: “When I don’t wear a helmet and I am riding my motorcycle, I feel like the coolest guy around. When I wear a helmet, I feel like I am a big weenie.”

 I responded: “No, you are a big weenie when you are lying intubated in a hospital bed with a brain injury because you thought you were too cool.”

 Jayne realizes that the man she encountered may have been taken aback by her tough-love comments.

 “But as I was thinking about the conversation, I realized that is why many people don’t wear a helmet…whether it be biking, motorcycle riding,  skiing, etc….too ‘cool’ for a helmet,” Jayne said. “Maybe they should spend a day with a brain injury and see how ‘cool’ that feels.”     

 Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger thought he was cool. Several years ago he made headlines when he almost died after being thrown from his motorcycle and hitting his head. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

 Now Roethlisberger is in the news again. In a disgraceful case, the quarterback allegedly brought an intoxicated college student into a bar’s bathroom and had relations with her, while his bodyguards kept her friends at bay outside the door.

 He won’t be charged criminally in the case, but the Steelers and National Football League are expected to take disciplinary action against him.

 Repeated brain injury, like the trauma from the bike accident and the four concussions that Roethlisberger sustained playing football, can change a person’s behavior. And not for the better.

 How cool is that?