Two cyclists, snaking through moving traffic at commute time in Bangkok
There will be a fair number of people reading this who might take me to task for what I'm about to say, but in this rare case I honestly don't care if they do: people who insist on riding around on motorcycles and motor scooters where there are autos, buses and other traffic without a helmet to protect their heads don't have much common sense at work within those heads. The same goes for bicycle riders.
When I was in school (long before helmet laws were in place) a friend on a Vespa scooter lost his confrontation with an automobile and drained an alarming quantity of blood from his head onto the street at the entrance of the school parking lot. I told myself then I wouldn't get onto another one myself, but I have, three times, and all of them in Thailand.
The first was with my Isaan friend, going to visit his family farm for the first time. I could say it was merely foolhardy, but to be honest it was stupid; neither of us had a helmet and we rode a good 20 kilometers along the highway on a small, rickety scooter he'd borrowed from his older sister. It was exhilirating when I could shelve the memory of Dave's accident and ignore the possibility of becoming 90Kg of ground meat myself at any moment.
The second you may remember from the "Motorcycle Taxi Safety (Or Not)" post from last April, where I said I was surprised at the number of folks who seem to go with the "if it's my time to die, it's my time to die" philosophy. That ride was actually more spooky because I was on the streets of Bangkok at the start of commute time, but I did have a helmet on. As you can see in the clip used in that post (repeated below) although there are a lot of cyclists in the Big Mango, most DO wear protection. In the clip all but one passenger had one on.
Cyclists in Bangkok... all (but one passenger) wearing a helmet
Unless it's changed, it's a 100 baht fine to ride without a helmet there, but I'd like to think most Thai wear one to avoid the risk of spending the rest of their days doing nothing more than drooling while propped up somewhere.
The third time I was on the back of a cycle there was just a little over a year ago, in Pattaya, and again I had a helmet on. My companion for dinner was giving me a ride back to my room one night, and I took a couple of HD clips. I'm repeating that clip below, but if you want to read about accidents and cycles again you can reference "Night Riding On A Motocy", also from early last year.
I guess what got me to thinking about the foolishness of riding around with nothing but air and exhaust between your head and a variety of immovable objects was running across pictures taken of my friend's brother after he was in a motocy accident without a helmet on, and remembering what a devastating effect it had on his family.
Some of you reading this have been hit up for money from people in Thailand (male and female), and may have already heard the "my brother was in a motocy accident" line, but in this case, it was true.
That story tomorrow.