To go travelling for a few months, or to move to another place entirely and start a whole new life, is an amazing feeling. Faced with unfamiliarity often gives us mixed emotions, nerves and excitement but also it allows us that overwhelming feeling of freedom without safety in mind. You can do what you want, where you want, when you want (to a certain degree). Being free from previous responsibilities and with endless new opportunities ahead of you it really is the greatest feeling. This can sometimes be taken too far and some things taken for granted.
I have observed that, in my years of travelling and living on a remote island, with that new sense of freedom often comes the feeling of being indestructible. One example, of which this blog is the main focus, is when people rent a motorbike or a scooter and decide not to wear a helmet. I understand it’s a perfect representation of that freedom you’re feeling with the wind in your hair (or beard in my case) and not a care in the world. First of all it still might be illegal to not wear a helmet where you are and so you could face a fine if caught. Secondly it doesn’t matter how good you are at riding a bike or scooter it’s the other people on the road you need to worry about. Many people on the roads might be riding a scooter for the first time or come from a country where the road rules are different. Serious accidents can happen and I have been unfortunate to witness many.
The simple fact of the matter is that if you have anyone in your life that loves you, be it parents, brothers, sisters, friends or your partner you have no real choice about wearing a helmet. No one really wears a helmet for themselves, they are bulky itchy and in the tropics it gets pretty hot but we wear them for our loved ones. Having been in a rather serious bike crash a few years ago and survived just because of my helmet I really know what its like to have family scared and upset on the other side of the planet. It was horrible knowing how bad they must be feeling with out being able to see me and I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been for them if I hadn’t survived. Even if the helmets on offer with your rental bike might not be of the high standard we get in Europe or America they will still serve as some protection and help you avoid any fines.
Apart from keeping your family and friends happy and keeping yourself safe, wearing a helmet can keep sand, dust and rain out of your eyes and also has great acoustics for a drive time sing-a-long.