It’s curious to see so many bikers wearing no lids in Slovakia, reminding me of a visit to Daytona beach Florida a number of years back, where I saw a sign that read, “if you’ve a 10 dollar head then buy a 10 dollar helmet.”
This I must say struck a chord with me, when I was in school my friend’s brother died as a result of not wearing a helmet. It’s true that he was only moving a few hundred feet (at very low speed) to park his bike when he the lost the front end on some gravel in the road, his head impacted on the curb, at which time it was lights out and good night. He was 17 years old, just about to do his finals and enter university.
I have been told that there are helmet laws here in Slovakia, but I see so many people not wearing helmets, so what are the penalties? apart from the obvious. I have often thought to chance not wearing my lid to see if I could invoke police attention, but that would be like shoplifting to see if I get caught. Also, every time I mount my bike I remember Jim’s brother.
Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk by 37%. Coincidentally, per vehicle mile motorcyclists are about 37 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and about 8 times as likely to be injured.
Helmets fitted with visors prevent eye injuries and the distraction of dust, dirt and debris thrown up by other vehicles on the road. Even insect strikes can distract many riders and cause accidents and even injury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA estimates that a biker without a helmet is 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury and 15% more likely to incur a non-fatal head injury than a helmeted motorcyclist.
I have noted in my 9 years visiting Slovakia and two of those living here full time, that many people refer to certain sectors of Slovak society as “boneheads” and I see these super cool dudes riding their super cool modified machines “lidless” but wearing mad max goggles. They remind me a bit of Dick Dastardly’s dog, Mutley.
Taking into account that these bikes are modified and custom builds, I would have serious reservations about the handling capabilities of these machines, especially when cornering. Granted, there are far far fewer of these machines on the road in comparison to standard production bikes, so the number of accidents would be far fewer.
These machines are built solely for cruising and straight line speed and yet I have personally had their riders trying to take me on. Sometimes I am sorely tempted to give them what they want, but knowing my luck I would be the one plucking pebbles from my posterior.
Motorcycling is a great pastime, the camaraderie is second to none, bikers always help bikers. How many cars will pass your broken down car and stop to offer assistance, yet bikers always stop for fellow bikers.
Safety is paramount when it comes to biking, its not all about cool image. How cool would a person look minus a jaw bone or serious facial road rash. It’s very hard to look cool six feet under or scattered in the wind.
So lid up, enjoy the scenery and aromas of the countryside etc, though in the city fumes can be annoying.
Ever wondered why dogs like to stick their heads out of car windows? Bikers know why!