Not long after I started riding my bike to work everyday, I bought a helmet. It’s a bad-ass helmet from Mountain Equipment Co-op with a skull on it. How ironic, huh? a “skull” on my skull?
The way I see it: we’re all gonna’ go sometime. I’m just not gonna go after being hit by a car door suddenly opened into traffic while riding my bike to work. I want to go quietly, and painlessly at the ripe old age of 145.
Here’s what I’m getting at: I understand, and appreciate the importance of wearing a helmet while cycling to the point where I don’t need municipal law, quirky television commercials, or advice from a friend to convince me. I get the message loud and clear. I want to live. Here’s the ironic part:
Thursday night, Lindsay picked me up from work, bike and all, so I wouldn’t have to cycle home in the rain. When we got home, I unloaded my bike and gear so I can store it in the basement for the next day. sadly, I unloaded everything except my helmet Thursday night, so Friday morning, I had everything, except my most important piece of equipment.
So, at 7:40 am I was faced with a few options: Take a cab to work, ride the buss, walk, or risk my life. After a very short internal deliberation, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and bike helmet-less to work. Now before I continue, I really feel the need to mention that not a DAY goes by, that I don’t notice some recreational cyclists, clearly commuting to school or work wearing nothing more than a hat, or a touque. It makes me weak in the knees when I imagine the sound a head must make when it collides violently with pavement. Yikes. Not only that, I have NEVER seen one of these cyclists ticked by police. I know it’s a rule, I believe it’s enforced, but I’ve never actually seen it.
The ride went flawlessly, until the corner of Douglas and Bay. I was stopped at a red light, proudly displaying my rear and front flashing lights, and sporting a reflective safety vest when I heard some honking. My guilty conscience immediately kicked in: ‘That MUST be somebody honking at how irresponsible I am! It just MUST be!” I fought the urge to turn around a second later, but couldn’t resist when a second honk came. Two cars back, in the lane next to me, was an unmarked police van. At least, it looked like an unmarked police van. The gentleman was pointing to his head, as if to say: “Hey YOU, where’s your helmet?” I mouth to him (because I know he can’t hear me over the traffic noise, or through the passage window: “I lost it” He started to shake his head, then made a motion with his pointer and middle finger. It’s the kind of motion that would make you shout: “Walking!” During a game of charades. Like a good citizen, who knows he’s done wrong: I got off my bike, and pushed it across the street. Busted.
The Law: 1