Remember When Kids Rode Their Bikes Without Helmets?

Do you remember when kids did not wear helmets when they rode bikes around the neighborhood?

I do.

Riding your bike was a way of pretending that you were independent when you were well aware that you were completely dependent on your parents.  When the buses dropped us off and there was still light we would grab our bikes and ride around our neighborhood like we owned it.  We patrolled our territory, and the passersby who saw us knew we had things under control.  We were young and free.

And no one wore a helmet.  The only kids that wore helmets were kids with some kind of a problem that we did not understand but were sure to make fun of.

If someone fell off his bike and split his head open on the ground, it happened when I was not there.  Because I don’t remember that happening.  When kids fell off – or were pushed off – their bikes, they got up, cursed whomever was laughing at them, and got back on their bikes.  Many of these kids now have kids of their own.  Kids who have to wear helmets when they ride their bikes.

I’m sure that at least one person’s head has been saved from being split open because of a helmet.  I have no doubt that it is safer now to ride a bike.  But when I see them, I don’t think to myself, “Wow.  These kids are exercising control over their turf.  True, they are completely dependent on their parents, but at least they are showing a desire to be independent.”  Instead, I think, “There must be something wrong with them.”

And to no one but myself, I make fun of them.


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