Fixxxator wrote:Anyway, one of the camp setter-uppers was out on tuesday night and managed to hit an unlit, abandoned mid playa bike, sending her flying ang slightly injuring her.
I've come to expect that I can't force other people to do what I want so I try my best to adapt to what they might do. And that includes unlit people and things on the Playa. The odds of actually encountering another object in any straight line is small in deep Playa, but I treat it like riding unlit streets at night at home: ride slower, get a brighter headlight, etc.
I think it's interesting the solutions people have. I fully support people bringing around lights to offer
to people who don't have any, but I wholly reject the notion of demanding that they take one. That's what we have thugs ... er ... authorities
in the default world for.
Fixxxator wrote:While there, she decides to go off the bike jump which results in a severe concussion and eventual life-flight to Reno.
I'm glad she ended up all right, but that's another weird thing about Burning Man. On the one hand, the biggest reason for wearing a bike helmet at home is to survive a collision with a car. But on the other, since cars at Burning Man tend to travel slowly (5 mph with rare exceptions) I don't really think of it an issue.
That said, I was working on a star bike for my girlfriend -- the frame is a hollow 5-pointed star. I brought it to the local bike shop to use the cottered crank tool (thank goodness Roger told me about that and keeps his archaic equipment) and to give it a final tune-up.
Well, I had installed the wrong bottom cone in the steering bearings so the steering was sticky. Nonetheless, I went for a test ride and tried riding no hands, causing me to lose total control and wipe out.
I left the house earlier and didn't have my helmet. I heard this story about a bicyclist in a race who forgot his -- his wife tried to hand it to him when he first started, but he couldn't get it on right so he rode without the helmet. As irony would have it, he did crash and was killed due to the head injury he sustained.
So based on that story, I went back and I was luckily wearing my helmet. In fact, a rather new one I bought from that very bike shop. I finished my test ride with both hands on the wheel and managed to also break the junker chain. So when I got back, I told Roger, "well good news for you: I need the rear wheel trued again, a new chain, and a new helmet.
Anyway, the point is that even in a single-person slow-speed crash, it's possible to crack your head right open. The Playa is insignificantly more forgiving that asphalt. But when you're out there, there's a feeling of magic and personal safety that sometimes turns to cockiness and a sense of invulnerability that gets you into trouble. Sometimes you're also riding a bike that's been modified with a safety-third mindset and isn't as reliable or maneuverable than a bike designed with a safety first one.
So while I think there's sufficient magic to prevent most serious injuries like when I was growing up in the 1970's and nobody wore bike helmets -- and we crashed and busted things up but never cracked our skulls, I also think that there are limits to the protection offered by that magic. Disrespecting your own mortality is one way to do that.
But I'd probably try the jump anyway too.