I hate wearing a cycling helmet. I suffer from really bad hat hair, so the only time I'm happy to wear my helmet is when I'm cycling for exercise, safe in the knowledge that I'm not going to stop anywhere and have to take off the offending head gear to reveal reshaped hair*.
However, with children you always have to think of the example you're setting and so each bike in our garage has an accompanying helmet. Children here take a bike test in their last year of first school and part of passing that test requires a fully functioning bike with lights (they get checked by the cops) and a helmet.
The kids seem to start off quite happily wearing helmets, it's only when they get older and suddenly need to appear cool that the problems start.
My 15 year old doesn't use his bike regularly, I think it's more used in situations when he needs to go somewhere and he doesn't want to be seen being dropped off by mom or (probably the more likely scenario) doesn't want me to know where he's going**. But when he does go out it has become apparent that the helmet is being left behind.
He was planning on going out with friends this afternoon on their bikes, to dig out an existing bunker (don't ask). He'd be back too late to babysit for the neighbours at 6:45 he said. To which I put my foot down, it'll be dark by 5:30 I told him, you have to be home by then. I was informed that he had lights (well, his old bike did, whether he transferred them to the new bike I don't know, although I was planning to check before he left) and that he'd be on the roads...and how that was supposed to put my mind at rest I don't know, German roads to my mind are not very well lit, if he'd said "I'll wear a luminous vest and ride on the pavement" I'd have been happier.
Then I brought up the subject of the helmet.
I thought I had a good argument. As you can see from the side bar, I blip (I have blogged about blipping if you're curious) and someone who also blips 'fell off' his bike last week. He doesn't know what happened (I don't think he's innately clumsy) one moment taking his turn to overtake a stationary bus, the next in an ambulance. But like any blipper would he clearly thought 'well this will provide at least a week's worth of blips', so day 1 was in the hospital - a very dramatic, bloody shot. I showed this series of graphic photos to my too cool for school son, in the faint hope that this would give him pause for thought and he might realise that the ugly helmet had saved this guy's skull.
No such luck.
So I wasn't looking forward to this afternoon, the prospect of watching the sun disappear as I waited for my darkly clad son to return through the gathering gloom, while the bike helmet waited in the garage. Fortunately one of the friends cried off with a bad headache and the digging out of the bunker clearly requires all boys to be there at the same time. Phew.
Angst postponed, until another day.
* I should point out that I happily confess to being vain and that my hatred of head wear is not confined to bike helmets. The only time I wear a hat is if my ears are in danger of freezing off due to sub zero temperatures or if the sun is so strong that I might get sunstroke.
** Damn secretive these teens, they make 007 look like a Girl Guide.