Why helmets are important.

Today Chris and I biked out to Redmond and back. This was partially to enjoy the sun and just get the legs spinning for more than the 1/2 hour bike commute, and partially to test the look bike cleat/shoes I borrowed. The ride was great, minus the typical headwind both ways. On both sides of the lake. Seriously. I think the only tail wind I had was going up hill (northbound) back to my house.

Most of the time Chris and I rode side by side, leapfrogging if we needed to go single file. We had an interesting conversation about who should go forward (faster) and who should go slower and fall behind when switching from doubled to single file. We stopped at Redmond Town center for the Starbucks, then headed back. I wound up getting a little tired and mildly drafting Chris on the way home. Some other guy wound up hooking on, and we started a conversation about drafting and safety. He dropped off around Kenmore thanking us for the pull. More safety/drafting conversation ensued.

About 1/3 of a mile from Lake Forest Park Town center, we were behind 2 people (although I thought there had been a third guy between that group and our group of two). What happened next was very quick. One guy went down. He wasn’t sure what happened but he thinks his tire wound up slipping off the trail into the ditch that is on the north side of the trail, he tried to cut back and totally flipped. The guy behind him said he wasn’t sure he had time to go around him (there were others on the trail too) and he had experience with mountain biking and thought he could jump the first guy.

He did, and he didn’t make it. Landed in a total heap, yelled in pain and wound up flat on his back.

Chris and I stopped, called 911, pulled stuff off the road and helped the guy out. Both were cut in various places. I didn’t want the guy to get up until the paramedics arrived, but he eventually insisted – I only let him up because he could move his hands and feet while still on the ground. I helped the other guy clean out his wounds and put band aids with neosporin on (I love the first aid kit I got from REI).

Eventually the fire truck showed up and had to use a ladder to get over the fence from the street on the other side (they really need better access there). The ambulance that arrived after eventually wound up driving UP the trail. They really need to have better access at that point of the trail for just such emergencies.

So here’s the point of all this: The guy who landed on his back’s helmet was cracked clear through and kind of buckling on top. His eyeglasses were broken. His back is hurt.

If this guy didn’t have a helmet on, the scene would have been MUCH different. I hope he accepted a ride to the hospital to get that head of his checked out (they did the quickly on scene neurological exam… not sufficient if you ask me in a case like that).

Chris and I left, knowing that there were folks there to take care of the guys. I was a little worried about the first guy who went down, he seemed pretty shocky about the whole thing, but I’m really worried about the guy who’s helmet was trashed. I think he was in such shock he didn’t realize how bad off he could be… I learned a lot last year from my mom’s brain bleed – a lot about taking head injuries very seriously and not leaving a darn thing to chance.

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