Protestor Ironically Dies While Protesting Helmet Laws

by on July 5, 2011

in consumer

Bicycle HelmetIn a horrible bit of bad timing, 55-year-old Philip A. Contos of Parish, N.Y. was on a motorcycle ride when he had to hit his brakes hard, fishtailing his 1983 Harley and ended up flipping over his handlebars and landed on his head on the pavement.

For Mr. Contos family, friends and associates, this is a horrible loss indeed and my most heart-felt condolences go out to everyone involved. But the circumstances surrounding his accident is nothing but full-fledged irony.

Philip was on a pseudo-organized motorcycle ride in protest of helmet laws. The group was riding with no helmets to make a statement. Sadly, their statement was lost in the noise.

Brusimm Opinion:

This is just an opinion and in no way reflects that I think anyone should change their ways if they feel so strongly, but I just don’t get what the big deal is with wearing a helmet, in the off-chance that it can save your life.

I’m going to diverge off into bicycle riding for a moment here and say that despite the slight annoyance that a helmet presents to a wearer, I don’t mind.

I’ve seen bad things happen to folks I know who weren’t wearing their helmets and I’ve seen how the neck snaps around and slaps the head into the ground. The sound is not a good sound to hear nor, if it’s bad enough, is it worth it to not try and take a little extra precaution.

Back in high school a friend got on his bike to putt-putt over to an Andy Gump at Indian Dunes. (While open, this was an awesome off-roading park and a great movie filming site in the Santa Clarita region.) His tire hit a rock and his bike slipped out from under him, cracking his head on the ground. He went into a coma and never woke up. He was not wearing a helmet.

“Among children and youth age 0 to 19 in 2000: Head injuries accounted for 62.6 percent of bicycle fatalities.”

I’ve had my own accident that by all rights, I should not be here because I wasn’t wearing a helmet. I got extremely lucky.

“91% of bicyclists killed in 2008 reportedly weren’t wearing helmets.”

In a study looking at some numbers in 2004, there were 151 thousand Bicycle related head injuries while 10k of those required hospitalization.

Some estimates claim that helmet use on bicycles can prevent an estimated 40k head injuries. But that’s a conjecture.

On the Flip Side of The Stats

Bicycle Helmet Laws

I’ve always been a strong supporter of freedom of choice. I am not much for laws that make me do anything that doesn’t seem right and it should be a person’s choice if they want to live on the ragged edge of safety. But I’ve always felt that helmets really can’t hurt to wear them. If anything, it helps protect one from injuring themselves and putting their friends and family through a bad spell.

But there are some interesting new stats coming out saying that folks with helmets are starting to see a rise in head injuries, which is confounding me. They surmise that those with protective gear take more chances.

I’ve also seen where there’s no distinction between injury rates with or without helmets, but I can’t help but take note of the 73k head injuries in the year 2000.

And then there’s the stat that bike riders live longer “because the health effects outweigh the risk of crashes.”

When you’re riding your bike on streets where cars travel, I shudder at the thought that some of the stupidest people I’ve seen are driving right along-side me and I feel just a tiny bit better with a helmet on.


I am a helmet snob. I quietly snicker at those who have their helmet hanging off their handlebars while riding. I grimace when I see parents making their kids wear helmets while they themselves are not, thus teaching junior it’s OK to take it off when they’re not around.

It just seems smarter to have a helmet on the noggin and add just a slight layer of protective bubble bounce on the head than to take chances amongst my fellow humans who can’t even navigate safely around me in a three-lane road.

Sure, other things might take a licking, but my brain should stay intact for the most part. Like I’ve said, I’ve seen the neck whip when people fall. It’s not a memory that leaves your head any time soon.

All I’m suggesting is to consider the idea of wearing a helmet and the slight additional safety you might afford yourself by doing so. That’s all.


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