I’ve always loved biking, but I’ve not always loved wearing a bike helmet. This is the story of how I changed my mind.

When I was a teenager, I felt invincible. I was lazy about wearing my bike helmet on my ride to school. After all, my school was only 2 blocks away from my house, and I liked the feel of the wind in my hair. My mother would often insist that I wear it, repeating the order as I left the house for school. Every time I arrived at home wearing nothing on my head, my dad would give me an exasperated look, reminding me how careless I was acting. At the time, these reactions did nothing but reinforce my behaviour. I couldn’t have cared less about protecting my head.

When I grew a bit older, I realized my parents might have been right all along I had a white helmet at the time, which I happened to like a lot. I started wearing it to school, tying it to my school bag once I got there. Inevitably, the chinstraps and side straps got looser, which meant it wasn’t as efficient at protecting my head. I remember how poorly fitted it was. But I didn’t care, at least, I thought, I was wearing my helmet.

My First Hit : My Sister’s Accident

One summer day, Gaby, one of my sisters, was in town. We had planned to get together for supper. We were so excited! I was in my bedroom getting ready when the phone rang. I heard my mom pick up. A few minutes later, she gathered my family and told us: “Your sister was hit by a car.”

This was impossible. Not Gaby! She was always so prudent on her bike. We soon learned the backstory: she had been heading home after work on a busy bike path. A car had turned at the precise moment she was passing—the driver hadn’t seen her. When I heard they had given her a cervical collar, I was SO scared. She he had suffered a concussion— but at least, she had no broken bones, no severe trauma to the head. I was relieved but from that day on, I always wore my helmet. This was my first hit.

My Second Hit : Saved by My Bike Helmet

A few months later, I was riding with my twin sister on Camilien-Houde Way, across the Mont Royal. We were chatting, riding at an easy pace. In a moment of distraction, we got so close that our wheels brushed against each other. Because we were on a slope, I lost balance. My head hit the ground, shattering my helmet. I went into shock, feeling dizzy and with my head throbbing. I, too, was diagnosed with a concussion, and it took me a long time to recover. This time, my helmet had saved me. This was my second hit.

At that moment, I chose to start thinking with my helmet.


Every time a driver nearly opened his door as I was passing beside his car;

Every time I had to brake quickly because the car driver did not look at his blind spot;

Luck saved me.


For each time luck saved my head, I want to help save others’.

Do it for your head. THINK WITH YOUR HELMET.

– Alexandra Germain, McGill Medical Student and “Think with your Helmet” Student Ambassador

Alexandra holding her bike up in the air

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