I don’t care about helmet hair

Katie Paysinger

I have a bike. It’s blue, and I call it “The Cruiser.”

One day, I was riding my bike for a short jaunt around campus. I was admiring the scenery and the immense amount of bats soaring about the sky when all of a sudden, a car backed out of a parking space, hit me and I smashed my head on someone’s lawn gnome. I ended up in the hospital and the doctor told me the only thing that saved my life was the helmet I was wearing.

Okay, so that didn’t actually happen. The bat thing did, but not the crash or the hospital thing. But you know what? It could. Lawn gnomes are a particularly dangerous species and they can appear out of nowhere. Trust me.

Helmets are crucial in saving your life in circumstances such as my made-up accident.

I began biking last spring. It is so much easier to get around by bike, and I find the local neighborhood a fantastic place to discover even more entertaining and interesting things.

When I purchased my bike, I thought it was natural to also buy a helmet. Not only did I buy one, but I also wear it everywhere. I am the poster child for helmets.

However, I noticed I am among the few who wear them. Tell me my fellow bike riding, skateboarding and longboarding Wildcats: Why don’t you wear a helmet? Is it because you think you aren’t riding very far? Because you are just staying on campus? You don’t want to be “that guy/gal” wearing a helmet? These are some of the answers I received when I was meandering the sidewalks for helmetless riders.

Do not get me wrong, my dear friends, I too feel that the helmet is not the most attractive or comfortable head accessory. However, I prefer it over the lovely head wrap I could get in the emergency room. That just would not do great things for the highlights I have going on right now.

McMinnville’s streets are crowded. Those darn pedestrians dominate the sidewalks and the parked cars control the sides of the streets, which leave us measly peddlers out on the road. I am trying to think of what else could possibly be on the road… oh yes, moving vehicles. Dang those moving vehicles.

I may only be going from Larsell Hall to Renshaw Hall or from Walker Hall to the post office, but what is stopping a car from not noticing me and WHAM, I’m in the hospital for real?  Also, in regard to the comment about someone thinking you are not very hip or cool or rad or whatever is “in” these days, I will think you’re the bees’ knees if you wear a helmet. Nothing is cooler than sporting a sweet helmet, in my opinion.

I was in Denmark during the summer and what did I do? I rented a bicycle, of course! When I was speaking with the nice man in a mixture of English and Dutch, I asked where the helmets for rent were to accompany my bicycle. The man replied, after he was done laughing at my apparently absurd question, “Oh no, miss. Here in Denmark the drivers look out for you. Not the other way around like in America.”

Keep that in my mind, my fellow biking enthusiasts. I do not want to hear that someone got hurt because they were not wearing something as simple as a helmet.

There is a bike shop on Third Street that sells all sorts of helmets. Or you can  head over to Wal-Mart or Big 5 and pick one up. It really is as simple as that, and it could save your life.              Happy riding!

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