I am self-conscious about wearing a bike helmet around campus, and am annoyed that this is the case. After returning to campus in mid-January and continuing to bike around (it’s cold, but totally doable), I have come up with experience-based rationales to justify my helmet-wearing tendency.
One: I want to protect my head. Especially after taking a wilderness medicine course, in which I learned how emphatically dangerous head, neck, and spine injuries are, I want to protect my head. I only cross one street while biking to class, but cars don’t consistently stop for pedestrians on that intersection. I also fall off my bike when I take turns too fast on 6″ of snow.
Two: I promised family I would take care of myself and that I would wear a helmet. I am a woman of my word.
Three: Once I left the Luther Bubble, which often extends to include downtown Decorah, people wearing helmets while biking were common. Professionals biking to class or work often wear helmets; I want to fit in to that cultural norm.
Four: Outside of Luther, I was exposed to a more career-oriented worldview as a contrast to my experience of Luther, which emphasizes ideas. My experience of both, but particularly the former, suggests that if I want to be taken seriously, I want to project an image of myself as mature. Wearing appropriate protection for commuting, such as seat belts and helmets, is part of that image.
I’m annoyed that wearing self-protection gear isn’t the norm in my age-group. For example, my wilderness medicine instructors talked about a professional snowboarder who only after injuring his head became a helmet advocate, yet his peers still ignore that basic level of safety. Please do not judge me harshly for finding more benefits in wearing a goofy piece of headgear to and from campus. And please wear a helmet.