i had to wait at the roadside for an ambulance for the better part of an hour with a clubmate who took a header. He was unconscious and convulsing, bleeding heavily, and breathing like a locomotive. We were out on the frontage road along I-55 in the soybean fields of Bolingbrook. Nearest 'phone about 2 miles away (NO cells back then) and NO ONE on the interstate would stop to help despite our desperate waving.
Fractured skull, blood in the spinal tap, broken jaw and nose. Comatose for ten days. Had his 50th birthday while out. 18 year-old kid next to him in the ICU with almost identical injuries (motorcycle) didn't make it.
Just out on a club ride, none of the four of us had helmets along (left 'em in the car, we weren't racing, eh?)
He came up and never knew what had happened... we were going about 25mph at the time. Accident left him with a speech impediment and the inability to do his job as an engineer... "semi disabled" i think they called it.
One week later, i got tossed ass-over-teacups and smacked my bean during another non-competitive ride. My old Kunoh hockey helmet (best we had at the time- pretty useless otherwise,) saved me a concussion or worse.
NO CARS were involved. Just bad roads and bad bike handling. It can happen in a flash and there's not a damned thing you can do about your landing, no matter how young, lithe, limber, and agile you may be.
i don't put leg over bike any more but i wear my brainbucket.
Unfortunately, over the years i have lost a few friends and aquaintences who didn't wear theirs.
Instant death doesn't scare me quite so much as persistent vegetative state does. i don't ever want to be a years-long burden to any caretakers, and maybe you wouldn't either.
End of rant.
::puts helmet on::
Ahh, yes, this is a perennial debate topic. For me, it's simple: I always wear a helmet. That way, I never have to make a decision about it. It's like wearing shoes... I don't even question it.
I always wear my helmet when I get on my bike, even if it is a test ride around the block. No helmet no riding. A simple easy to follow rule because I like the privacy of being able to wipe my own ass!