by Erick Wikum
I remember my first bicycle road race for two reasons. First, as a new rider who was not in particularly great physical condition, I wondered why my club teammates did a multi-mile warm up. To my way of thinking, the energy to ride that warmup should have been saved for the race. Second, I was dropped by the pack immediately after the race began and as I struggled to catch up, I rode up on a teammate who had crashed. Fortunately for him, while his face was bloodied and his helmet cracked in two, he and his head in particular was okay.
Ever since that day, I have been on a crusade to encourage others to wear helmets when engaged in bicycling and other wheeled activities. When people ask me for advice on which type of bike to buy or where to ride, I always mention the importance of wearing a helmet and note that I would never ride anywhere without one.
For whatever reasons (ignorance, lack of respect for potential hazards, cost, etc.), many Little Miami Scenic Trail users do not wear helmets. Count yourself among wise trail users who understand the critical importance of helmets and stay safe by adhering to the following helmet guidance:
1. Purchase an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certified helmet comfortable and attractive enough that you will wear it. While more expensive helmets may be lighter, better looking, more aerodynamic and better ventilated, any certified helmet will provide protection.
2. Visit your local bike shop for assistance in selecting a helmet that fits your budget and your head, for help adjusting straps and for advice for proper positioning of the helmet on your head.
3. Replace old or damaged helmets. Styrofoam used in helmets degrades over time, and damage impacts the structural integrity of the helmet.
4. Always wear your helmet, not only to protect yourself, but also to set a positive example for others (especially children).
Bicycling and engaging in other wheeled activities on the Little Miami Scenic Trail can be very enjoyable, but these activities are inherently risky due to gravity, trail and weather conditions, road crossings, other users and animals. You can mitigate these risks by paying attention, exercising caution, and equipping yourself with a helmet, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your head. My former neighbor used to say that helmets can be pricy, but if your helmet does what it is designed to do, it will be the best money you ever spent. Touchè!