We aren’t a nation of fools. That much is evident from the way we have come to rule the global information technology industry and various other fields. Why then can we not understand the basic rationale behind the idea of wearing a helmet when we ride?
Helmet. Check. Riding jacket. Check. Riding gloves. Check. Boots. Check. That’s what features on my personal check-list before every motorcycle ride. Ok, to be totally honest, I don’t particularly don the entire gamut of protective motorcycle clothing every time I take out a scooter for a quick dash to the grocer’s round the corner. But the helmet is a constant. No matter how short or insignificant the ride may be. Truth is, I’m scared. Not of falling, but of hurting myself when I do. Because no matter how skilled you may think you are, if you ride a motorbike you will fall. It may happen later than sooner, but you surely will. And when you do, every single bit of riding kit will gang up to keep you in riding condition.
I remember seeing a small news piece in the most prominent English national daily, which was about a major national political party agreeing in principle not to protest against already-in-place or soon-to-be-implemented helmet laws. The report helped me remember another incident where I saw a bunch of people in the heart of Pune city staging a dharna. Against helmets! The biggest irony in all this struck me when I read the news report the following day about the dharna. Apparently, the protests and demonstrations were being conducted by a bunch of lawyers and doctors!
Honestly, the whole thing goes against every single grain of logic in any human brain. However stupid the person may be. How can one possibly argue and even justify that a crash helmet, which has been purpose-built to protect a rider’s head, is bad for health? Indeed, it defies logic. And, no, arguments like “my head hurts”, “it’ll ruin my hair”, “I sweat too much in one” or “I lose my sense of speed and then end up going faster than I should”, et cetera, aren’t valid.
I’ve been riding for quite some time now and I have been wearing a lid on every ride (small or big) for over a decade. My head doesn’t hurt after a ride. The helmet has not resulted in any hair loss over and above what was pre-decided by my gene pool (the latter is a subject best avoided). I do sweat inside the lid on a hot day but I’d rather have a sweaty head than a cracked skull. And it has never affected my sense of speed, thus making me go faster than I should. In any case, there’s a speedometer smack in front of me to help me stay within the limits I deem safe for myself.
Moot point is, there can be no excuse for not buying and using a good quality helmet. After all, if you’re okay with spending fifty-plus grand on a bike then there is no reason why you can’t spend a couple more on a good lid for your priceless head.