RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
Friends of RAGBRAI

Ride Right

Why Should You Wear a Helmet?

A friend of RAGBRAIs from Independence shared this story with us:

About 6 of us are cruising at 20-25 MPH down a slight highway hill heading into Quasqueton.  First mistake – head down looking at my speedometer.  Second mistake – riding way too close to the edge and then slipping off the road into gravel.  I almost immediately wiped out on the loose gravel  but got it under control for a couple of seconds then  I made the worst  mistake….  tried to re-enter without  slowing down much further and as soon as I hit the edge of the highway (about a 1-2 inch lip up) I was going down!  (YOU DON’T DO THIS DRIVING A CAR EITHER!!)

I am pretty sure I twisted to avoid a face plant and rolled sideways over the bike.  I don’t remember anything after that except getting up in the gravel and quickly falling over from dizziness and I do remember falling over at least 2 more times into a wet ditch.

I was groggy to say the least and not really from the alcohol.  The exact feeling after coming back from anesthesia.  No major pain anywhere.  I had no idea I had even hit my head until I saw the helmet the next day.  Veteran bikers said they have never seen that kind of damage ever to a helmet!

A farmer and his big dog were walking or driving by (not sure which) but I remember the dog lapping up all of the blood from my legs and arms.  I couldn’t get him to stop it either!

Bike suffered 2 flat tires and damage to one of my hand brake assemblies.  Scrapes to my face, both knees, both shoulders, both wrists, one elbow, one hip. Big bruise on the hip, and probably a cracked rib in my back (which I will probably check out at the doctor) Good to have a driver waiting in Quasqueton.

Fun Fun – You planning RAGBRAI?

We are glad he will ride again!  Please RIDE RIGHT and wear your helmet!



8 Responses on “Why Should You Wear a Helmet?

Wendy Reyes

June 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

While doing a century several years ago, my husband was run off the road by a car. His injuries were extensive…broken collar bone, separated shoulder, broken wrist, ligament damage in his ankle, and multiple lacerations all over his body. Happy to say that his helmet saved his life. Direct quote from the ER doctor as he is inspecting the helmet, “If you didn’t have this on, you wouldn’t be here right now.” We always wear helmets and I am a big proponent of helmet wearing with my students at school. By telling our story, we have had some non- helmet wearing friends start to wear them. We don’t really ride with people who won’t wear them.

Steven Schurtz

June 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

I have been involved in several conversations recently, after a recent full page ad by People for Bikes in the League of American Bicyclists magazine, a study published in the British Medical Journal, and Bicycling magazine’s recent article about helmets. The BMJ article shows lack of scientific data to show the reduction of cycling head injuries related to the requirement to wear helmets in Canada. http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3817?ijkey=I5vHBog6FhaaLzX&keytype=ref However, according to Brain&SpinalInjury.com, cycling is the leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the US. http://brainspinalinjury.com/cycling-is-the-leading-cause-of-tbi-in-the-united-states/


June 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

u people sickin me u havve no respect for other people.. i sat at a four way stop in a semi for 10 minutes and not one of u son of a b&^%$#s stopped to let me thru.. i finally hit the horn and dropped the clutch. u stupid f*&^%s ignored me.. there must of been 10 or 20 dumasses pilled up at the intersection. i kind of felt bad but then i realiazed it was their choice. u people dont own the roads, u get bared from towns,TRASH YOUR PATH (what the **** is up wirh that) hells angels or the sons of silence cause less problems than u do.. U CAN ALL GO F*&^ YOURSELVES


June 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Eric, thanks for your input on “Why should you wear a helmet”. Your comments were a reminder to us all that with drivers like you on the road a helmet is extremely important!


June 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

Eric you just made yourself and truckers look like fools. I agree that some of us bikers sometimes need to be more thoughtful of others on the road and follow the rules of the road. But don’t put all of us in that same group like I don’t think all truck drivers are as stupid as you.

Big Tim

June 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

EVERYONE should wear a helmet even if going slow on a path. My wife fell on her first ride in which we were going slow on a path. She landed head first in the grass. She got up and we continued the ride until she developed a headache. A few days later the doctor confirmed she had a mild concussion and slight skull fracture. If not for the helmet, she would have been In serious condition per the doctor.


June 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I tell my kids to wear their helmets. They respond “I’m not going to fall” I tell them I am concerned with people and obstacles on the road that might make you fall down.

At first this did not sink in, until I had an accident. Car pulled out as our group passed. He hit the guy in front of me and we both went down. I broke my collar bone, bruises and cuts on my right side. Did not notice the road rash on my head until I was in the hospital. Luckily, it was a scrape. The helmet saved me. Now my kids do not question me at all


July 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I’m sure you’re wondering why all 10-20 (that’s a wide range) of riders were all bunched up at the stop sign. Well two things come to mind. Usually in group rides they will treat themselves as one vehicle. This keeps traffic moving at a faster pace. If they were truly running a stop sign, then that is unacceptable. If they had the right of way, then they were within their rights to keep moving. It’s unfortunate that you had to wait such a long time, but this is no different than waiting for a long string of cars. Cyclists have rights on the road just as much as you do. Your vague description of the encounter yields little information into the actual situation, and I highly doubt the cyclists were being as vigilantly as you are suggesting.

For my more childish retort. When you’re making an argument and upset with a situation it is appropriate to utilize punctuation. There is also no need to abbreviate words that have only three letters, no need to express yourself in such a profane manner, and if you pulled out in front of them and they had the right of way then you were the one breaking the law and being a prime example of why cyclists get so angry at some drivers as well.

Back to topic! I have yet to have a hard bicycle accident but I am a huge proponent of protective gear. Having done most of my riding on rural highways and back roads I’ve had several close calls, including a minivan who blew a stop sign almost side swiping me (If Eric reads this, I had the right of way) I slammed my breaks hard and nearly went over the top. I barely missed the vehicle and the woman was utterly oblivious of what had just transpired. What’s the saying, I don’t ride with people who don’t wear helmets because they won’t be around long anyway.

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