Years ago, I worked on a documentary about homelessness in Portland, Oregon, and that city's attempt to get people off the streets and into homes. The social worker in charge of the program told me an astonishing fact: that half the homeless had suffered brain injuries as children. I went on to do some research and found a remarkable study from California that showed high levels of inmates and people on the streets had indeed suffered some form of trauma to their heads earlier in life.
Since then we've learned about athletes - football players, hockey players and boxers - who've suffered greatly later in life from the blows to their heads during their careers. And, in at least one case, an autopsy on the brain of an athlete showed how severe the damage can be. The importance of head protection is now taken much more seriously in many sports.
So why would anyone in a risky sport - and that includes riding a motorcycle or scooter - even consider that it's less the crucial to cushion the brain from jostling about in a fall?
That's why the headline from Australia that reads: "Data Confirms Value of Wearing Helmets" seems to state the obvious. Now, the study referenced may be about kids and bicycles but the statistics speak loudly. According to the study, the need for brain surgery for kids in bicycles accidents without helmets is seven times higher than for those wearing helmets. Yet, it seems there is a debate in Australia about making helmets mandatory for cycling. I just think anything that supports establishing a habit and encouraging manufacturers to come up with sound helmet designs is well, a "no-brainer."