TransWorld Media

So, is it time for helmets yet?

by taj | Nov 16, 2008 |

 

I just watched the TV coverage of Mike Aitken leaving the hospital. Pretty moving stuff. He says he’ll be back riding (and god I hope so) but with a helmet. 

 

I’ve been working on the T1 ramp the last few days and I’ve been thinking about how when we first built it we used to be pretty diligent about wearing helmets. I don’t know what happened, I guess we just got comfortable on the ramp and started not thinking about it anymore. Standing in the flat bottom though you realize its a pretty big ramp. The whole ramp is 7 foot 3 inches tall, and the extensions are around 11 foot. And now we have a spine and big box jump. I don’t know why the gnarly-er it got the more slack we got with gear. I’m going to be better about that now and keep a helmet at the ramp. 

 

Helmets have saved me a number of times. It seems like when I used to ride vert I used to get knocked out a lot, and that was when wearing a full face moto helmet. I’m certain I would have been dead if it wasn’t for that. For some reason all the concussion’s I can remember all seem to be pretty comical in one way or another. 

One time…

I was riding vert at the bike show in England and the next thing I remember is waking up in an ambulance looking up at a bunch of strange London buildings whizzing by the windows. At the time, punch drunk on head trauma that alone seemed funny, but I didn’t really find out the funny part till months, maybe years later (thanks foggy memory). 

 

Somehow the topic of those old vert shows came up and Jon Taylor was surprised to learn that I couldn’t remember any of the time between crashing and the ambulance. He told me that on one air I was too far over the deck and tucked back behind the back wheel trying to save it.  The result was a sprocket case that ejected me to the flat bottom. AND because I was sitting over the back wheel my groceries got sucked in between the frame and the back wheel!  You know that little gap between your wheel and the seat stays just behind the seat pole? Right there.

You never want to be able to do this no-hander. 

So there I am knocked out silly on the flat bottom of the ramp and the usual resulting melee of paramedics and friends rushing out to help the fallen rider occurs. People were pulling on my bike trying to get it out of the way only to find that I was, um, “intimately” connected to it. As Jon told me the story I had some vague notion of being barely conscious while people were twisting my bike around trying to get tools to the back wheel to take it off and free me. Thankfully, it was up to Mad Jon Taylor to have the sense of mind to let the air out of my tire and free me. 

Er… hmmm…. what was the moral of the story? I was wearing the best helmet I could buy and I still got knocked out. Maybe we need airbags for our bikes? No wait, I would have been dead if I hadn’t had that helmet, and I’m sure the memory of the rest of the crash was good to forget. Thank you minor brain injuries!

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