Chinese word of the day: 头盔
（tou2 kui1) helmet
Jack says he wasn’t riding fast. Far from it. He was coming in the little east gate of the campus. Ahead of him was the traffic barricade and a pylon. He was leaning forward on his handlebars to look around the pylon and didn’t notice that there was a two inch drop in the pavement. Going over it, the bump caused his hands to slip off his handlebars and because all his weight was forward, down he went. It happened just that fast.
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit silly about wearing my helmet all the time, and preaching to students about the value of a helmet. There is a loud and vocal, if misinformed, anti-helmet lobby that is active now, including a TEDx talk by a very persuasive man who has spent several years researching and campaigning to get people to stop wearing helmets and revoke helmet laws. (Strange fixation on his part, and it’s my belief that he’ll be responsible for quite a few deaths before he himself is dead and forgotten.) A good friend of mine bought the arguments, and told me that she is no longer intends to wear a helmet.
The anti-helmet activists make some valid points, and we don’t want a “nanny state” with laws about every possible hazard and danger, but helmets still make good sense. My brain is too valuable to me to put it at risk simply to feel the wind in my hair. I continued to tell students about bike helmets, and to wear my own. But really, I lost my inspiration and initiative and lately… yes, I’ve been feeling a bit foolish. Nobody else on campus wears a helmet, except for my wife and Jack. I haven’t fallen off in years. Riding a bike doesn’t feel dangerous.
And now Jack proves my point. I don’t know whether he would have been seriously hurt, or suffered any brain damage, in his fall. We can be fairly sure he would at least have had a headache and a bump. He could have lost everything – his short term memory, his long term memory, his ability to remember his own name, his ability to control his body, his ability to teach a class. He could have lost it all. I’m very glad he was wearing his helmet. And I’m glad he renewed my faith in my bike helmet campaign.
It’s a nice bit of closure as we’re about to leave China and return to life in Canada.