Many HBS students have bicycles and ride them to class regularly–I know this because I’m always fighting with the rest of you for those prime bike rack spots in front of Aldrich. Many HBS students also don’t wear bike helmets–I know this because I can see it with my own two eyes. I would like to share with the HBS community a good reason to wear a helmet when riding a bike.
While riding home from class on Wednesday, October 3, I was hit by a car. I wasn’t doing anything unsafe, like riding against traffic or riding my bike home after a few too many beers at TGIF. I was simply minding my own business on the right side of the road when an oncoming car made a left turn into me and knocked the crap out of my bike, throwing me over the handlebars and to the street. Luckily, both of us had started to slow down before the collision, and I wasn’t seriously injured (I can’t say the same for my bike). Though I didn’t land on my head, I easily could have since I wasn’t exactly in control of my trajectory.
If there had been a pole, tree, parked car, or anything short of a big fluffy pillow in front of my “flight path”, my head would probably have gone straight into it. The point is, no matter how safe a bike rider you are, there’s no way to fully account for the actions of the “other guy” on the road.
So to everyone out there who rides a bike, but doesn’t wear a helmet because “it’ll mess up my hair” or “it just doesn’t look cool”: I can attest that those things aren’t going to matter much when you’re flying through the air towards a not-so-soft landing. Bones break and mend, skin scrapes and heals, but from my experience, heads don’t take trauma too well.
Do yourself, your family, and your classmates a favor and wear a helmet–nobody wants to lose a friend or loved one in an accident. I’m out a bike and a pair of pants (for now–about to start working on the insurance claim), but those things are a lot easier to fix or replace than one’s head.