Edgy Mama: Time to get out your bike — and put on a sexy helmet

It’s springtime. It’s sunny and warm outside (when it’s not raining). Pheremones are floating on the breeze. It’s a great time to ride your bicycle. It’s also a great time to strap on a helmet.

Perhaps because I live between the University of North Carolina-Asheville and downtown Asheville, I’ve seen lots of folks riding bikes without brain buckets in recent weeks.

I realize I’m part of the generation that went from “What’s a bike helmet?” to “You must wear one, my children.” Pretty much no one wore bike helmets until I was in my 20s, when mountain bikes hit the scene, and folks realized head protection while biking was wise.

My kids, on the other hand, have never so much as sat down on a bike without a helmet, just as they’ve never ridden in a car without being strapped in. Basically, both helmets and seat belts are no brainers.

Plus, as one of the organizers of Asheville on Bikes says, “Helmets are sexy.”

Oh wait, I’m not ready for my kids to be sexy.

But you crazy UNCA students, and other 20 somethings, who think you’re invincible? Helmets are sexy.

If you want to attract a mate (or a friend with benefits), a proven way to do so is to show you’re healthy and a survivor. Seriously.

Research into sexuality shows that we’re all turned on by people who seem to be long-time survivors (our hormones respond to the appearance of health and longevity). So what’s one way to look like a survivor, y’all? That’s right—strap on a fricking helmet when you’re biking. And, who knows, perhaps the dates will start pouring—or at least trickling—in.

If sexy doesn’t work for you, here are some stats. Depending on where you live, between 75 and 97 percent of bicycle-related deaths happen to those who aren’t wearing helmets (the 97 percent is from New York City—where it’s a really bad idea to bike helmetless). According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 630 bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2009 (the most recent numbers released). Younger cyclists are more likely to die from head injuries than older cyclists. Males are seven times more likely to die in bicycle accidents than females. I’m not sure if this is because males are less likely to wear helmets or less cautious cyclists—or both.

I know of at least two Asheville folks who sustained serious long-term brain injuries from falling off bikes while not wearing helmets. I know of at least one person who died that way here.

You may say those were freak accidents and could’ve happened as easily if the person had slipped and fell down the stairs. Regardless, those accidents occurred while those people were on bicycles, and they possibly could’ve been avoided by a layer of Styrofoam and plastic. They were what us moms refer to as preventable accidents.

So prove to the opposite sex that you’re a smart survivor. Put on your bike helmet. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re bringing the sexy. Then go ride your bike around town and check out all the other young survivors wearing their helmets.

Edgy Mama—helping college students get laid (and survive into adulthood).



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7 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: Time to get out your bike — and put on a sexy helmet

  1. CM

    Contrary to the claim that bicycle helmets are a “no-brainer” when it comes to improving safety, real-world scientific research demonstrates that bicycle helmets do little to improve rider safety, offering as little as a 11%-14% reduction in risk of serious injury or death (http://www.cycle-helmets.com/elvik.pdf). Don’t you think that if helmets were such a panacea for cyclist safety they would be made compulsory by law everywhere?

    If helmets actually worked you would expect to see countries with high helmet-wearing rates such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand to have the lowest rates of rider casualties, but instead it is the European countries such as The Netherlands and Denmark which have the largest number of helmet-less riders on the roads also enjoying lowest number of cyclist injuries or deaths per-mile-travelled than anywhere else in the world.

    In reality, bicycle helmets are inconvenient, look silly and send the false message that riding a bike is dangerous which it is not. The perception of danger is one of the major factors preventing most people from riding a bike, which is bad because about the ONLY effective measure that has been demonstrated to improve safety for cyclists is MORE PEOPLE RIDING BIKES!

  2. I’ve taken my fair share of spills on a bike and I’m pretty glad I had on helmet. Generally, when you fall on your bike your head is the highest thing giving it the greatest moment arm. This in turn gives it a greater angular velocity at impact than say your knees or arse. So helmet or not it’s hitting the ground harder and if anything, it’ll at least hurt.

  3. dpewen

    I agree that helmets do look sexy and provide a lot of safety … I have broken more than 1 helmet and did not harm my head during the crashes. If they did not help why do professional riders wear them? Answer: because they provide protection for your head plain and simple.

  4. luther blissett

    “In reality, bicycle helmets are inconvenient, look silly and send the false message that riding a bike is dangerous which it is not.”

    Motorists also act more dangerously towards cyclists who are wearing helmets, e.g. leaving less room when passing.

    But you can’t turn the US into Denmark by taking off your helmet, so as long as the drivers of cars and trucks take personal offense at having to share the road with cyclists — oh, especially pickup drivers — then it’s best to wear as much protection as possible. And a bulletproof vest on Tunnel Road.

  5. Lance

    I would posit that places like Denmark and The Netherlands have lower rates of bicycle casualties because bike riding is a way of life there and a fully accepted form of transportation. Car and truck drivers there are used to seeing bikes everywhere, the cars are smaller, and the drivers are less aggressive towards cyclists.

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