Why I wear a helmet

[accident.gif 84K]

This picture is an example of why I wear a helmet. It was taken ten days after I had an accident on my bike, September 1 1984.

I had a severe concussion. I broke the bone beside my left eye socket, the bone under my left eye socket, and cracked my upper jaw in two places. My mouth was wired shut for a month, and my left eye was swollen shut for two weeks. I was lucky I didn't lose the eye or any teeth. If you look closely at my skull x-ray, you can see the three wires holding my face together.

[Skull X-ray 

Below you can see a dental X-ray tht clearly shows some of the wires in my cheek bone.

Wires in Kevin's Head

I have a few permanent after-effects:

The plastic surgeon who fixed me up said this was the worst facial injury he had seen since use of seat belts became manditory.

By the way, this was not on my motorcycle. This was on a ten speed bike, going at most 15 miles per hour. For people that know Saskatoon, there is a pedestrian walkway that goes under the west end of Univeristy Bridge. It's sort of u-shaped, going down a hill, under the bridge, then back up the hill on the other side.

I went down one side, and another cyclist went down the other side. We literally hit head-on at the bottom. The other cyclist was wearing a helmet. All he got was a broken nose (although it wasn't diagnosed until a few weeks later, so he had to have the nose re-broken and set again).

I was not wearing a bike helmet at the time, but I do now.

I'll let you imagine what I would have looked like on a Motorcycle going 30mph or more. I wear a full-face helmet on the motorcycle now.


The picture is of my nephew Greg wearing my motorcycle helmet. About two weeks after the picture of Greg was taken, I was heading home to Kelvington to be a groomsman in his parent's wedding. I made the mistake of passing someone who was travelling very slowly. Of course, that person made a left-hand turn as I was passing him. I braked hard. According to the police I slowed from 60 mph to 30 mph before hitting the back of the half-ton truck. I don't remember much more.

[Greg wearing my helmet] 

The most serious injury I received was a broken collarbone. I was wearing my helmet, leather jacket, and blue jeans. They did their job perfectly. I can see where the helmet hit the pavement, the plastic vents on the back of it were sheared off. I received "road rash" caused by my skin rubbing against the INSIDE of my clothing. However the clothing protected me well from the road dirt, none of it got through. My feet are fine, due to the high-topped leather boots I wore.

[shoulder x-ray, 

The point is that in the long run, I was damaged a lot LESS in this motorcycle accident where I was properly dressed, than in my ten-speed bicycle accident at much slower speed when I was not properly dressed. (Every time I see someone riding their "Ninja" wearing just a t-shirt, shorts, running shoes, and manditory helmet, I cringe.)