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Helmet Head

DA_iStock_000022707413_LargeRecently, a friend of mine was hit by a car, flew 25 or 30 feet, and landed on his face. He ended up with a severe concussion, and a messed up face. He was wearing what I would call a “Beany.” No, it wasn’t his fault. He used to wear a full-coverage helmet, but decided that it was too “restrictive,” and he couldn’t see very well.

I hear customers talking about freedom and feeling the wind in their hair, but what about the times when something goes horribly wrong, and, as they leave the saddle of their motorcycle, do these same people think “I’m glad I don’t have a restrictive, heavy helmet on right now!”? My wager is that they wish they had on the most expensive, best fitting helmet in the world. Head; soft. Road; hard.

The only question I have for those who ride without a helmet is, “Are you stupid!?”

I cannot, to this day, ride a bike without a helmet, usually a full-coverage helmet, and I don’t understand those who don’t want to wear one. In some states, there is no helmet law. In many others, they let the riders get away with what are glorified salad bowls. What is it that would make someone go out and ride a motorcycle without some protection around what is arguably the most important organ in their body?

Sure, the chances that something will go wrong are small, but I’ve seen what a blacktop road does to a head. The inside of your head should never see the outside world, unless it’s in an operating room, and a neurosurgeon is involved.

I’ve heard all of the reasons not to wear a helmet: “It’s more likely that you’ll break your neck if you fall with one on.” Pure bunk. “It’s too hot!” I’ve ridden in Death Valley when all of the thermometers were exploding, and trust me; it’s far cooler with some insulation around your brain.

I’m sure I’ll get mail from those of you who think I’m a wimp, and can’t possibly be a real biker. However, I’ve ridden hundreds of thousands of miles both on-road and off-road, at sane and insane speeds, in all kinds of weather, and in all that time I was always wearing a helmet. My head is not very hard when it’s compared to the highway.

As dealers, we should be promoting the wearing of helmets, as well as the best protective gear available. Not only is it good for our bottom line, but it’s in our best interest to make sure our customers come back with an “I’m sure glad I was wearing a helmet!” story rather than never coming back at all.

I also know that even in states with helmet laws, many of you sell “pudding bowl” helmets, something that wouldn’t keep you safe from my grandma hitting you on the head with her knitting. Why would you do such a thing? If someone died because the helmet I sold afforded no protection, I would never forgive myself. And all it’s going to take is one of the customers who bought one of them to have a bad fall and sue you because you sold them an unsafe helmet.

Maybe I’m being Chicken Little, but we are the professionals, and we should be there to guide our customers. Get your staff trained in selling real helmets that will give our clients some real protection.

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