This is why it pays to wear a helmet!

The father of the 12-year-old Victorian boy saved by a country doctor who used a household drill to bore a hole in his skull has praised hospital staff, saying the procedure was carried out ”like a military operation”.

Michael Rossi’s son, Nicholas, was not wearing a helmet when he fell off his bike late on Friday while riding outside a friend’s house in Maryborough, 170 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.

From The Age

dr-drill

OK, so I’m not the king of safety. Although I did recently buy a flouro vest, it looks so damn awful that I can only wear it to bush doofs with my furry shorts and my glow stick earrings, but I always wear a helmet. I remember the olden days when it wasn’t lawfully required of a cyclist to wear a helmet and how odd and constrictive it seemed at the time to have to wear one. But now, as an old man, commuting during peak hour I could never go back to those free and easy days of no head protection.

Last night while riding home I encountered a rare Safety Cyclist. She was fully decked out in flouro, and was obviously very safety conscious. So safety conscious in fact, that as she rode alongside a footpath, she rang her bell constantly for the entire duration. As she was directly behind me I wondered if she was attempting to alert me to a problem I may have been having. Was my rear light off? Was my bag open and spilling onto the road? Were my shoes on the wrong feet? As I pulled to a stop at the lights I glanced behind to discover it was the Safety Cyclist I had passed earlier, and that she was busy alerting all pedestrians to her presence. I have no problem whatsoever with using your bell to alert pedestrians, as they often need alerting, but to me the concept of ringing your bell continuously seems to mimimise its effect on the foot walking population. I usually find that it works best when trying to attract the attention of a particular pedestrian as they are about to step out in front of you, usually doubled up with a bit of voice power to emphasise the urgency of the situation. I find that bell ringing alone doesn’t usually cut it. People seem to ignore it. Which is why ringing your bell for the whole time you are riding adjacent to a footpath seems like a bad idea. How will the potential stepper-outer notice me if someone is ding-a-linging away like there is no radio attached to her handlebars?

On the other hand, I also witnessed another rare creature on the evening commute yesterday….. The Duffle-Coated-Hands-In-Pocket Cyclist. Admittedly, the weather is turning a bit chillier of late. We have had some nastily cold mornings in particular. 3º was the lowest morning commute so far, and it’s only just autumn! So rugging up is completely understandable, although I do find once you get going, that being to rugged up only makes me feel like a steamed wanton by the time I get to my destination. That was until I spotted the Duffle-Coated-Hands-In-Pocket Cyclist. Obviously I have been doing it wrong all along! The way to keep warm while riding isn’t to wear thin layers and ride like you would normally, it is to rug up and then cycle really slowly with your hands in your pockets! Now why didn’t I think of that. I do have a nice thick duffle coat which I haven’t pulled out due to it not being cold enough yet. Perhaps if I allow an extra hour on my commute I will be able to wear it and not break into a sweat. Double win! I always find cycling without your hands on the handle bars during peak hour is a bit risky, usually I witness the cycle-couriers pulling such stunts, but to place your hands in your big thick woolly pockets while travelling (albeit it quite slowly) next to maniacs stuck in peak hour traffic looking for any way to sneak down a side street to get stuck at a different intersection (without indicating, of course) seems like too great a risk for me. Guess I’m just a wuss.

At least if you are wearing a helmet as you paddle foot along with your hands in your pockets, the doctors might not need to use a rusty old power drill to release the blood clot in your brain. But they might need a shovel to scrape you off the road.

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