Swedish Language Blog

Remember – hjärnan kan inte gipsas! Posted by on Jan 8, 2009 in Culture, Vocabulary

The shortest day of the year is behind us, but that doesn’t mean that the days are getting all that much longer. While it’s not pitch black at 3PM anymore, it’s still dark. Add to this snow and ice, and driving can be very unpleasant. And dangerous.

I drive, and I can’t even imagine how people can survive here without a car. But that’s a topic for a whole another post. The fact is – some people don’t drive. Even though it’s snowy and slippery, some people still ride their bicycles. And no, riding a bike in the snow is not an extreme sport here but a necessity if you don’t own a car. You can even get special winter bicycle tires, which are studded just like normal winter car tires.

Studded tires notwithstanding, it still surprises me how many of those hardened winter cyclists don’t wear helmets. The law says that only kids under 15 need to wear helmets, and it seems that even though it’s the law, few of them actually follow it. I wonder what their parents think. Do they put their faith in the Swedish health system? Hmmm… I really would like to know.

According to Vägverket’s statistical information, only 65.5% of kids under 10 years of age wear a helmet. And only 43.6% in the 10 to 16 years of age group. For adults the results are embarrassing – 20 to 22% of adults under the age of 65 wear a helmet. The percentage is equally low for older people.

This is pathetic. I did not look for statistics about brain injuries, but a visit to any ER in winter will tell you all you need to know. Not wearing a helmet when riding a bike can be deadly.

Vägverket is being very gentle on their website when reminding people to wear bike helmets. Too gentle, if you ask me:

Varje dag skadas nära hundra cyklister i Sverige. Få av dem krockar med bilar eller andra trafikanter. Den vanligaste olyckan är en singelolycka. Så glöm inte hjälmen – hjärnan kan inte gipsas.

Why am I writing about it today?
I was driving from the store and on my way home witnesses a serious accident. A cyclist didn’t manage to stop in time at the intersection. He was going downhill from a bike path, but braking on snow and ice proved to be too difficult. A couple of somersaults later, he ended up with his head in the middle of a busy road. And oh yeah, he was not wearing a helmet.

So, even if you think you don’t look cool when wearing a helmet, just imagine how uncool you will look with a serious brain injury.
Remember – you can put an arm or a leg in a plaster cast, but not a brain.

Here is some info about choosing a proper bicycle helmet, courtesy of Vägverket.

Tips när du köper hjälm:

Hjälmar ska uppfylla grundkrav för hälsa och säkerhet för att få säljas. Bruksanvisningen ska vara på svenska och även förklara märkningen. Ett CE-märke på hjälmen visar att tillverkaren fått certifikat på att hjälmen uppfyller de krav som lagen ställer. Bara särskilt utsedda laboratorier kan utfärda certifikaten.

När du provar hjälm, tänk på följande:
• Hjälmen ska sitta perfekt så att den inte kan trilla av eller skjutas bakåt och lämna pannan fri. Den får inte glida ner i nacken!
• Om du köper till ett barn: köp inte en för stor hjälm som barnet ska växa i.
• Hjälmen ska täcka panna, bakhuvud och hjässa.
• Hjälmen ska vara lätt att ta på och av och lätt att fästa med hakbandet.
• Hjälmen ska vara så lätt och bekväm att den inte känns jobbig att använda. Se till att knäppningen i hakbandet inte nyper eller klämmer.
• Hakbandet brukar vara lagom spänt om du får ett finger mellan bandet och hakan. Det är viktigt att hjälmen sitter stadigt!
• Du ska trivas med hjälmen. Prova den framför spegeln innan du bestämmer dig. Det är inget fel om den är snygg.

Image: pressbilder VV

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  1. ceci:

    hello dear anna! i guessed those things never happened in sweden, but well, human beings are so stupid sometimes…thank you for your article.

  2. Golnar:

    Hej Dear anna , and other friends .
    I just found this page . I liked it and I wanna share it with you .
    so check this out http://www.zompist.com/swedcult.html

  3. Gimena:

    Hej Anna!
    Winter market time is getting closer!
    Oh how I wish I were in Jokkmokk!!! I miss it sooo much.
    I was told they expect to have more tourists than last year. 2008 was CROWDED, there were about 30 other people staying in the same house I was, haha. Jeez, I had a blast!

  4. Daniel:

    Hej Dear Anna
    It is very good to see how I must to write words in swedish but ,if don`t ask very much , I want to hear how I need to pronounce all this words or phrases.
    It is a pleasure for me to learn swedish because I want to move in Sweden but if I don`t to talk swedish it is a very big problem to me ( in your country if I don`t talk swedish I don`t find something to work).

    Thank you very much
    Best regardess