The GYPSY’s Blog: Why A Helmet?
May 13th of 1935 dawned as a brilliant and beautiful mid spring day in the village of Dorset, England. Thomas, two months retired from the military, decided to take his Brough Superior SS 100 Motorcycle for a ride to the nearby township of Wareham.
As Thomas rode through the English countryside he reflected on the amazing life he had lived in his 46 years upon this planet; world traveler, archaeologist, writer, military officer and diplomat. He had done it all and seen it all.
As Thomas entered the large dip in the road he shuddered, he had never liked this misconfiguration of the road and wished that the His Majesty’s department of public works would do something to correct the poor visibility of the road ahead that this dip caused. That was the last thought Thomas had as he came up out of the dip and saw the two boys on their bicycles in the middle of the road. He swerved to miss them, lost control of the large motorcycle and was thrown over his handlebars sustaining severe head trauma. Thomas died in the hospital 6 days later on May 19, 1935.
One of the doctors attending him was neurosurgeon Hugh Cairns, who consequently began a long study of the unnecessary loss of life by motorcycle dispatch riders through head injuries. His research led to the use of crash helmets by both military and civilian motorcyclists.
I have rode motorcycles since I was 15 years old having been fascinated by them from a very young age. I have had several crashes that eventually led to me getting my left knee replaced at saint Francis Hospital in Topeka, Kansas in June of 2015.
One particular nasty crash occurred in July of 2011 when I hit an unmarked oil slick road in Abilene, Texas. That crash resulted in severe road rash and a concussion from not wearing a helmet. I now wear a helmet when I ride.
The state of Kansas, along with other states, has tried on numerous occasions to make mandatory helmet usage a law. I personally do not believe that the government should dictate whether or not you use a helmet or even a seat belt for that matter. Freedom of choice should always remain freedom of choice. I do however do not understand why, when given a choice, people would not choose to wear a helmet or seat belt.
For years I had no worries about whether or not I wore a helmet. It took one moment caused by the state of Texas to give me a wake up call and I have not looked back.
Everything has a beginning and an end. Poor Thomas’ end was the beginning of the study that led to motorcycle helmet recommendations worldwide. Yet that is not the only thing Thomas will forever be remembered for. For you see Thomas was better known by his professional name T.E. Lawrence. But the world and history will always remember him as Lawrence of Arabia.
And now you know “Why A Helmet?”
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