Wearing A Helmet
By Victor Moss
Ive been riding for over 25 years, in conditions as varied as snow and ice in Michigan to 125 degree desert heat and blowing sand in Nevada. While each poses its own unique situations, the worst I've experienced was riding in Colorado Springs during the summer of 1980.
Colorado Springs has over 300 days of sunshine a year, prefect motorcycle riding weather. But the city sits in the shadows of Pikes Peak, a 14,000 ft. a mountain that generates its own weather. As a summer days warm, moisture from the melting snow of the Rocky Mountains creates an afternoon rainstorm each day around four o'clock. Many times, these storms are accompanied by hail stones.
One afternoon, I was unfortunate enough to be caught by one of these storms. While most rainstorms don't bother me, this one was particularly vicious. As the wind picked up, the rain started coming down almost horizontally, hitting me with such force that it felt like nails piercing my suit. I knew I needed to find shelter quickly.
I noticed a white sheen forming in front of me and knew my worst nightmare was about to begin. Hail! The only thing worse than hail is hail the size of baseballs. As I hunkered down behind my fairing, I felt hailstones slamming on my back and helmet with quicker frequency. As the onslaught continued, the hailstones grew in size when a stone the size of a softball slammed square on top of my helmet, pushing my head down onto my handlebars. I struggled to maintain control of my bike, and thought I was going to lose control, becoming another victim of Mother Nature. Gaining control, I came to the only bridge in sight and stopped to assess the damage. As I removed my helmet, I found it was cracked like an automobile windshield hit by a rock.
To this day, I often wonder what would have happened had I not been wearing a helmet. Would I have stopped earlier or continued taking chances as I rode? How would my head have taken the impact? Would I even be here today to ask these questions? Over the years I've gained a greater appreciation for helmets and the protection they offer. I wish that every rider would choose to wear a helmet whenever they rode. To me it is clearly the smart thing to do.
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