Wear Your Bike Helmet, People

| March 25, 2015

I want to start out by saying that, all kidding aside, this is a genuine reminder to wear your bike helmet. Like, always. There is no logical reason not to.

Paul thinks, rightly, that this should also serve as a reminder to me that 1) if my wheel is not exactly perpendicular to the curb, I will not make it over said curb; and 2) straight at a pole is not the place to try it.  Had I considered these two points, I might have avoided this week’s crash. (I must specify “this week’s” since they’re not an infrequent occurrence.)

I must digress: in Germany, there are no helmet laws. Adults don’t wear them, most children don’t wear them, and, surprisingly, adults ride down the street with helmetless babies in their bike car seat. THAT is the most absurdly unsafe thing I have EVER seen.

I always wear a helmet, and so does my kid.

mother daughter bike helmets

In this town, that makes us an anomaly.

Had I not been wearing my helmet on Monday, I would be writing this from the hospital. Undoubtedly. So…what happened?

I was riding down the street.  This particular street is a goddamned nightmare of potholes–it closely resembles every road in Pennsylvania.  It’s also one of our most ridiculous slaloms of parked cars, alternating from one side of the road to the other, while you have two lanes of traffic coming down one lane of street width–and these parked cars. As I bumped down the road, a car was coming toward me. Another car was parked up ahead on the right.  I decided that I would try to get up on the sidewalk.  There was a low curb–the kind you see at the end of a driveway here, not completely flat like you see for getting your bike up onto the sidewalk.  I thought I could take this low curb.

Apparently I could not.

What I did not take into account additionally, was the pole (by “not take into account,” I mean “not see”). There was a pole (maybe a street lamp, who knows) on the sidewalk.  I noticed this pole when my bike wheel did not make the curb, I flew off the bike, and my head smashed directly–and I mean head-on–into the pole.  The impact was hard enough that it pushed my helmet back into my head, and then, with my head sideways, my forehead made very light contact with the pole.

bike accident crash

Those bags under my eyes are the result of my weary ride home and in no way related to my not wearing makeup. Okay, so I should probably wear makeup.

Snot was pouring out of my nose.  I don’t know if this was because some kind of unplanned chiropractic adjustment had just released my sinuses, or if I was crying without tears.  I just know that snot was pouring down the left side of my face like I was three years old.  It was gross. However, it was not as urgent as the stinging of my knee, which took a beating even through thick jeans.

bike accident crash

My battle scar.

I was also distracted by just the thought that my forehead had touched the pole.  I was truly shaken by this. I remain incredibly happy that I wear a bike helmet. I also remain incredibly baffled as to why no one else around here does.

The driver of the car coming at me slowed down to ask if I was okay.  He was probably just slowing down to try to figure out how I went from riding down the street upright, to being wrapped around a pole on the sidewalk.  I waved him on. I didn’t want him to see the snot.

The moral of this story: Mess up your hair, not your skull.




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Category: Europe, Ex-pat Parenting, FAMILY, Family Travel, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

Comments (1)

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  1. Jacki Reese says:

    Glad you’re okay!