Brain dead?


Now I’m no ex­pert, but... and speak­ing strictly per­son­ally here, I’ve never had a prob­lem wear­ing pro­tec­tive gear. I’m no ‘Safety Nazi’ but when it comes to body and bonce, if I am go­ing to do any­thing which re­motely puts ei­ther at risk of in­jury, I’ll wear what­ever the ‘ in­dus­try-stan­dard’ is. Whether it is man­dated by law ( mo­tor­cy­cle and cy­cle hel­mets) or is sim­ple com­mon sense ( MX boots, pants, shoul­der pads and gloves) when rid­ing a dirt bike off-road. One of the rea­sons is that in a life­time ei­ther par­tic­i­pat­ing in, or re­port­ing on ac­tiv­i­ties as di­verse as mo­tor­cy­cle and car rac­ing, and triathlon and road and off-road ( MTB) cy­cling, I have both ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand, and been on the spot when things have gone pear-shaped. Sud­den, in most cases com­pletely ac­ci­den­tal, death has a ter­ri­ble and both im­me­di­ate and lin­ger­ing ef­fect on ev­ery­one di­rectly and also in­di­rectly in­volved in an event – the rea­son many are immediately can­celled in the after­math of a fa­tal ac­ci­dent. Se­ri­ous in­jury also leaves a kind of pall over a place and time. Though, to be fair, I have been lucky. As a kid I re­mem­ber skid­ding off my push­bike on pea gravel left by care­less work­men af­ter a pot­hole re­pair... and wak­ing up af­ter be­ing knocked out cold for 30 sec­onds or so. And more re­cently – again lit­er­ally – I split a $ 200+ Giro MTB hel­met in two af­ter head-butting the ground when I over­bal­anced and rode off the edge of a two-me­tre high wooden ob­sta­cle at my lo­cal MTB park. Ap­par­ently I calmly picked my­self up, dusted my­self off and finished my ride... but I can’t re­mem­ber a thing about that. All I know is that a fel­low rider saw it hap­pen and self­lessly ac­com­pa­nied me back to the car park when he couldn’t make any sense of what I was say­ing! I’ve also – a hun­dred years ago in a past life ( as they say) when I was into trail bikes, and more re­cently at the MTB park – been the first person to ar­rive on the scene, and of­fer as­sis­tance to, fel­low rid­ers who have hit their heads hard af­ter big crashes. And, let me tell you for a fact. It ain’t pretty. I raise the sub­ject here for two rea­sons. One is sim­ple and ap­plies to any ac­tiv­ity where there is a height­ened risk of ac­ci­dent or in­jury. In our case the ob­vi­ous one is when we are off-road and miles away from the ‘au­thor­i­ties.’ Just because you are, don’t – ever – think that not wear­ing your seat belt is a good idea… The other rea­son re­lates to that oxy­gen thief – Jeremy Teague – who or­gan­ised a re­cent demon­stra­tion ( which at­tracted just 25 peo­ple de­spite na­tion­wide pub­lic­ity) AGAINST the law which re­quires any­one rid­ing a bi­cy­cle to wear a hel­met. Claim­ing he wanted to see more peo­ple cy­cling, he told me­dia cov­er­ing his demo that hav­ing to wear a hel­met sent the ‘wrong mes­sage’ to peo­ple, and in par­tic­u­lar to chil­dren – that cy­cling was dan­ger­ous. And that if hel­mets were op­tional, more would ride bikes. To which all I can do is roll my eyes, and bor­row a quote from ACT Party leader David Sey­mour in the lead-up to last year’s gen­eral elec­tion. Re­fer­ring to a hap­less state­ment made by NZ First can­di­date Richard Prosser in re­gards to re­turn­ing elec­tric­ity as­sets to state own­er­ship, Sey­mour fa­mously said – and I quote – “I re­alise in a role such as mine you are sup­posed to have a cer­tain amount of deco­rum. But that makes me re­ally an­gry – what a f***ing id­iot!”

NZ4WD ed­i­tor Ross MacKay.

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