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  1. #1
    I fall alot.
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    Nice article on wearing a helmet

    Chief becomes poster boy for helmet use


    By JOHN RICHARDSON, Portland Press Herald Writer

    Copyright 2004 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

    Michael Chitwood, Portland's colorful and tough-talking police chief, knows how to face up to his mistakes.

    The chief's familiar mug is decorated with scrapes, bruises and stitches after taking a spill off a bicycle Monday. Now he's using his wounds as a visual aid to teach about the value of wearing bicycle helmets.

    Chitwood, you see, wasn't wearing a helmet when he flew over the handlebars and hit the pavement. Had he landed on his head rather than his face, Chitwood said, he could have been paralyzed or killed.

    "There are so many children and so many adults in our Greater Portland area who ride bikes without helmets, and then here I am, knowing better and preaching public safety, doing the same thing," he said.

    Chitwood was in North Carolina visiting his daughter and her family and decided to take advantage of the mild weather by borrowing her bike to take a ride by himself.

    The chief puts a lot of miles on his bike each summer in Maine. And, he said, he doesn't take chances with his head, as a rule.

    "I always wear a helmet. I'm a firm believer in helmets," Chitwood said. A helmet saved his life in a motorcycle accident years ago, he said.

    But Chitwood rode off without a helmet Monday and cut through a parking lot to get to a bike trail. As he approached a speed bump, he stood up on the pedals and reached down for the extensions on his handlebars, forgetting that his daughter's bike doesn't have extensions like the ones on his bike. He hit the speed bump and flew over the handlebars "like a slingshot," he said.

    He landed on his face and ended up on his stomach. At first he was worried he'd be too injured to move, but was able to get himself up. He took off his shirt and used it to slow the blood pouring out of his mouth and cheek, and tried to figure out how to get help.

    Fortunately for Chitwood, a car appeared in the parking lot, and the driver called an ambulance. Chitwood was treated and released with eight stitches in his cheek. The more his face heals, he said, the more the rest of his body aches. But he feels lucky to have escaped injury to his unprotected head and neck.

    The chief said he realized his face could persuade others to be more careful when he saw the look he got from his 5-year-old granddaughter, who immediately promised to always wear a helmet. Since then, he has spread the word on helmet use in interviews with local media.

    It would be hard for anyone to hide the embarrassing evidence on Chitwood's face. But he's not one to try, anyway.

    "I just want people to see stupidity," he said.

  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Great article.

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    That's a nasty spill.

  4. #4
    Videre non videri
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    One of my neighbours had a nasty accident, much like that one.
    He hit a pothole in a country road nearby, and hit the ground with his face.
    He lost consciousness and a driver found him.
    No serious injuries though. His face is still a bit scarred, and he had to wear a neck brace for 6-7 months, but he's recovered fully since.

    The irony of it all is that he was head of the road and street department of our municipality administration...

  5. #5
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wogdog
    ... forgetting that his daughter's bike doesn't have extensions like the ones on his bike. He hit the speed bump and flew over the handlebars "like a slingshot," he said.
    What a goose!
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  6. #6
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    He landed on his face and ended up on his stomach.
    How in the world would a bicycle helmet save his face from being scraped?
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Hawkster's Avatar
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    all
    How in the world would a bicycle helmet save his face from being scraped?
    I was riding the appalachian trail a few weeks ago and there was a some construction being done, there was a little ditch-like low spot crossing the road, only about 6 inches deep, nothing really. But I was riding my brothers hybrid (which is too small for me anyway) cuz my spokes where breaking, plus I had a backpack on so when I hit the brakes just as I was going down into it I managed to soar over the handlebars with hardly any effort at all.
    My only injuries were bloody knees, a bruised shin and a shoulder that took me a little while the next day to figure out why the heck it was so sore. The helmet was the first thing on my head to hit the ground and it prevented my face from being planted as well.

    Any time I have had an accident with no helmet, all it would have saved me is a bit of pain.

    I'll try the picture on my 10 year old nephew and see if it will convince him to wear a helmet.
    Three wheels do not a bicycle make.

  8. #8
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkster
    The helmet was the first thing on my head to hit the ground and it prevented my face from being planted as well.
    I could see the forward portion on the helmet on the forehead would create a different angle of impact on the face, but the face would still hit the ground. Some motorcycle helmets have face protection that would prevent facial injury, but bicycle helmets couldn't do the same thing.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    How in the world would a bicycle helmet save his face from being scraped?
    when I got hit in the side I did a belly flop my helmet bounced my head off the pavement so only my chin hit.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wogdog
    As he approached a speed bump, he stood up on the pedals and reached down for the extensions on his handlebars, forgetting that his daughter's bike doesn't have extensions like the ones on his bike
    Oh how I have done that before, and it is scary!

    Great article!

  11. #11
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    If you say a bicycle helmet prevents face injuries, you might as well say a bicycle helmet prevents knee injuries as well.

    What he needed was one of these



    or, one of these



    That would have helped.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 11-02-04 at 10:21 AM.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  12. #12
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    The guy faceplanted and thinks that's an argument for helmets? Silly, silly boy. That's as daft as saying "I fell and hit my knee, thank God I was wearing a helmet" or, for that matter, "I knocked over my latte, thank God I was wearing a helmet".

    They're protective equipment with very clearly defined usefulness. They're not magic talismans!

  13. #13
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    "I just want people to see stupidity," Chitwood said.
    I think we have.


    Quote Originally Posted by andygates
    They're not magic talismans!
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  14. #14
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    I was riding one winter morning after a fresh snowfall and hit a patch of ice while turning. Because I didn't see the ice (because of the snow) I was totally unprepared and was down and sliding over the ground before I even registered what had happened. Thank God I wasn't wearing a helmet or else I would have seriously injured my neck from its rotational forces.

    Oh, wrong thread. rofl

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hawkster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    I could see the forward portion on the helmet on the forehead would create a different angle of impact on the face, but the face would still hit the ground. Some motorcycle helmets have face protection that would prevent facial injury, but bicycle helmets couldn't do the same thing.
    It probably wont help a lot if you land flat on your stomach, but if you land on your shoulder it is quite effective. Put your helmet on and lay on the ground you will see what I am talking about.
    Three wheels do not a bicycle make.

  16. #16
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    Chitwood, you see, wasn't wearing a helmet when he flew over the handlebars and hit the pavement. Had he landed on his head rather than his face, Chitwood said, he could have been paralyzed or killed.
    Reading comprehension anyone?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Hawkster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ex-rower
    Reading comprehension anyone?
    LOL
    Three wheels do not a bicycle make.

  18. #18
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    The whole article is misleading and promoting something that would not have made a difference to the end result.

    He might as well have said had he not been riding his bike and driving his car and had an equally unexpected accident, he could have killed a passenger or a pedestrian, or if he wasn't a regular exerciser on the bike he would have succummed to heart disease last year.

    "Had he landed on his head rather than his face" indeed. We could play that game of "what if?" all day.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  19. #19
    The Land of Living Skies
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    Does it really matter what could have, would have, should have or didn't happen. At the end of the day the guy is just trying to promote the use of helmets and safety. I don't think he should be taking heat for something that doesn't have a down side.

  20. #20
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with helmets, just the way in which they are promoted are sometimes wrong.

    First of all, this guys wearing of a helmet has nothing to do with his injury.

    Second of all, riding a bike does not make you any more likely to injure yourself than any other activity (it's how you do something, not what you do) and suggesting it does keeps people away from riding bikes because it is "risky" or "too dangeous" to ride a bike.

    Is that good?

    Maybe what we should do is show how accidents happen and suggest the best way to avoid them in the future. Keep in perspective the relative risks of anything we do and realize there is no greater danger in something than there really is.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  21. #21
    dam this is fun ! STEEKER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andygates
    The guy faceplanted and thinks that's an argument for helmets? Silly, silly boy. That's as daft as saying "I fell and hit my knee, thank God I was wearing a helmet" or, for that matter, "I knocked over my latte, thank God I was wearing a helmet".

    They're protective equipment with very clearly defined usefulness. They're not magic talismans!
    I knocked over my Latte and was wearing my helmet and got a bad burn on my head and the helmet did'nt help at all ( true story ) .... Steeker

  22. #22
    cab horn
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    You're missing the point. The point is that if he fell on his face, you could fall on your head. Now promoting a safety thing isn't really evil is it? Even if it doesn't necessairly follow that since you hurt your face you should wear a helmet.

  23. #23
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    promoting a safety thing isn't really evil is it?
    of course not, but at the expense of misinformation about safety, or promoting safe behaviour, it is.



    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    ...it doesn't necessairly follow that since you hurt your face you should wear a helmet.
    that's the point.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 11-04-04 at 02:08 PM.
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