Join the Mushroom Heads

Sep 192004
Authors: Ben Bleckley

There are a lot of people out there advocating the use of

helmets by bicyclists. The claim is that wearing these ridiculous

looking pieces of Styrofoam can prevent serious injury in an


Experts claim helmets reduce head injury by 88 percent; that

540,000 cyclists visit emergency rooms each year, and two-thirds of

fatal bicycle accidents are a result of traumatic head injury.

What the experts don’t take into account is how unfashionable

bike helmets are. I mean, they are so 1980s. People who wear them

look like they’re growing a mushroom on their head.

And really, where is the fun in riding a bike if your hair is

not blowing in the breeze?

All that does not stop Jim Barnaby, however. He’s been riding

his bike for 35 years and narrowly escaped death last spring.

(Who is this guy? Where is he from?)

“I was at a stop sign and going west across Wabash,” said

Barnaby, a junior high school science teacher. “I had been waiting

for traffic to clear and started across the street. A truck had

pulled up on the other side, no turn signal or anything, gunned it

and drove right into me.”

The truck driver received a ticket for an illegal left hand turn

in front of oncoming traffic.

Barnaby said he was not aware of anything he did wrong in the

situation. It didn’t matter how good of a rider he was, or that he

rode to and from work almost every day – the accident was

completely out of his hands.

“The ambulance driver said it saved my life,” Barnaby said. “It

took a big old chunk out of my helmet and a smaller chunk out of my


Chances are the ambulance driver knew what he or she was talking

about. They spend at least 10 semester credits in a classroom, 30

hours of clinical experience, two more semester credits receiving

intravenous certification and then countless hours of field

experience before an ambulance company hires them.

And that’s just if they are the Emergency Medical Technician –

Basic. Poudre Valley Hospital ambulances also employs Paramedics

who spend two years in school after receiving their EMT-B.

While helmets are no doubt uncomfortable, silly looking, hard to

fit and a general hassle, wearing them is smarter than the

alternative. It is better to put a hole in a helmet as opposed to

one’s skull – and end up a nasty statistic.

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