NO CRASH helmets, crashed heads. That seems pretty clear to those who ride motorbikes.
Well, maybe not, judging from the rising body count of the Bacolod City Police Office Traffic Management Unit. Alarmingly, the casualty rate rose to 35 dead since January of this year.
Don’t take it from me, take it from TMU Chief Investigator Dennes Perma who blamed the cause of death to motorcycle riders who refused to wear crash helmets.
I can understand the rising number of deaths. One time, I played a mental numbers game from downtown Bacolod to Alijis. I tallied the score of those who wore helmets against those who didn’t. Final score: with helmets, 26; none, 23.
There is no reason to bring out the victory champagne bottle for the winning score, however. That was a close game of death contest. The winning score should be all in favor of wearing crash helmets, nil for the other side.
What’s worse is the habit of some motorbike riders for family bonding. The father and mother wear helmets but none for their kid. What are the parents thinking? Saving themselves if an accident happens, but sacrificing the child? Such irresponsible parents!
I blame machismo for the refusal to wear helmets. Yes, Virginia, most drivers are males who drive motorbikes. For them, helmets are for wimps. They dare the fates and the law enforcers to make their day.
Unfortunately, until lately, the Land Transportation Office and the TMU choose to look the other way around. Traffic enforcers focus on erring jeepney drivers over drivers who ride two-wheeled coffins.
Yet our traffic enforcers are duty-bound to implement the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines that requires among other provisions the use of helmets for motorcycle drivers.
Some friends insist they have been riding motorcycles for years and have never been in an accident. (Not yet, I retort). They get so cocky that they dash through the streets like they own them, and that incoming cars are barred from blocking their way. Many of these drivers violate traffic rules and courtesy, darting and weaving among cars and jeepneys in crowded streets.
As the 35 casualties have shown, the Grim Ripper is the hidden passenger each time riders refuse to wear crash helmets. The most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents is closed head injury where the skull remains unbroken. Closed head injury results from violent acceleration of the head that causes the brain to move around inside the skull.
During an impact to the front of the head, the brain lurches forwards inside the skull, squeezing the tissue near the impact site and stretching the tissue on the opposite side of the head. Then the brain rebounds in the opposite direction, stretching the tissue near the impact site and squeezing the tissue on the other side of the head. Blood vessels linking the brain to the inside of the skull may break during this process, causing fatal bleeding.
That’s one lesson that La Carlota City councilor Mark Aguirre won’t ever learn. Initial police investigations noted that Aguirre rode with helmeted motorcycle driver Kagawad Henry Amar when another motorcycle slammed into them. The impact hurled Aguirre. As expected, he suffered fatal head injuries when he landed.
The La Carlota PNP will file case of reckless imprudence leading to homicide against the other driver. I suggest that the police add Kagawad Amar in the charge sheet for allowing an unhelmeted passenger to ride in his motorbike.
The PNP and the LTO should stick to its guns. Enforce the law that says “no crash helmets, no travel, no crashed heads.” At least the city if not the province can ease the body counts on our city streets.
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