Wear Your Helmet

 Photo: Alex Freeman

Photo: Alex Freeman

A few weeks ago on a Friday, I went for a 9am morning bike ride and decided to try out the new designated bike lanes on Bloor Street. As I was riding east through the intersection of Bloor and Spadina, a small grey hatchback turned right and cut me off, forcing me to slam down on my brakes as hard as possible. I flew over my handlebars and landed directly on my face. Surprisingly, my delicate carbon fibre bicycle was left unscathed. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky. Upon impact, I received a massive concussion, a severely broken nose, compressed cervical vertebrae and a bruised trachea. I also cracked four teeth as well as cut and sprained my right wrist and knee. The pain I felt in my neck was indescribable, and I couldn't feel or move any of my extremities.

A bystander called 911 and within minutes I was being placed on a spinal board by paramedics, who then rushed me to Mount Sinai Hospital where I was wheeled into the RESUS 1 trauma unit. I was placed in a CT machine immediately and given multiple x-rays, followed by several intravenous injections of morphine. After a few hours, I was told that I had been very lucky, and that my spinal cord and the bones in my neck were intact. I am now at home making a full recovery and will be back in class before the end of the month.

There is one lesson to learn from this horrible accident: had I not been wearing a helmet, I would have most likely died that day from my injuries. At the very best, I would now be a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. If you decide to ride a bicycle, regardless of the speed, time of day, or location, please wear a helmet. For me, it made all the difference.